Fruit and Vegetable Intake, as Reflected by Serum Carotenoid Concentrations, Predicts Reduced Probability of Polychlorinated Biphenyl-Associated Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004

Nutr Res. 2014 Apr;34(4):285-93. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.02.001. Epub 2014 Feb 10.


Type 2 diabetes has been shown to occur in response to environmental and genetic influences, among them nutrition; food intake patterns; sedentary lifestyle; body mass index; and exposure to persistent organic pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Nutrition is essential in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes and has been shown to modulate the toxicity of PCBs. Serum carotenoid concentrations, considered a reliable biomarker of fruit and vegetable intake, are associated with the reduced probability of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our hypothesis is that fruit and vegetable intake, reflected by serum carotenoid concentrations, is associated with the reduced probability of developing type 2 diabetes in US adults with elevated serum concentrations of PCBs 118, 126, and 153. This cross-sectional study used the Center for Disease Control and Prevention database, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004, in logistic regression analyses. Overall prevalence of type 2 diabetes was approximately 11.6% depending on the specific PCB. All 3 PCBs were positively associated with the probability of type 2 diabetes. For participants at higher PCB percentiles (eg, 75th and 90th) for PCB 118 and 126, increasing serum carotenoid concentrations were associated with a smaller probability of type 2 diabetes. Fruit and vegetable intake, as reflected by serum carotenoid concentrations, predicted notably reduced probability of dioxin-like PCB-associated risk for type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: Environmental health; NHANES, type 2 diabetes; Nutrition; Polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs; Serum carotenoids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carotenoids / blood
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet*
  • Dioxins / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritional Status
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Vegetables / chemistry*


  • Dioxins
  • Carotenoids
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls