High serum carotenoids associated with lower risk for the metabolic syndrome and its components among Japanese subjects: Mikkabi cohort study

Br J Nutr. 2015 Nov 28;114(10):1674-82. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515003268. Epub 2015 Sep 14.


Recent epidemiological studies show the association of carotenoids with the metabolic syndrome (MetS), but thorough longitudinal cohort studies regarding this association have not been well conducted. The objective of this study was to investigate longitudinally whether serum carotenoids are associated with the risk of developing the MetS and its components in Japanese subjects. We conducted a follow-up study on 1073 men and women aged 30-79 years at the baseline from the Mikkabi prospective cohort study. Those who participated in the baseline and completed follow-up surveys were examined longitudinally. Over the 10-year period, 910 subjects (295 men and 615 women) took part in the follow-up survey at least once. Over a mean follow-up period of 7·8 (sd 2·9) years, thirty-six men and thirty-one women developed new MetS. After adjustments for confounders, the hazard ratio (HR) for the MetS in the highest tertile of serum β-carotene against the lowest tertile was 0·47 (95 % CI 0·23, 0·95). On the other hand, significantly lower risks for dyslipidaemia were observed in the highest tertiles of serum α- and β-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin (HR 0·66; 95 % CI 0·46, 0·96; HR, 0·54; 95 % CI 0·37, 0·79; and HR 0·66; 95 % CI 0·44, 0·99, respectively). Other significant associations between the risks for obesity, high blood pressure and hyperglycaemia with serum carotenoids were not observed. Our results further support the hypothesis that eating a diet rich in carotenoids might help prevent the development of the MetS and its complications in Japanese subjects.

Keywords: Antioxidants; Carotenoids: Metabolic syndrome; HR; Longitudinal studies: Cohort studies; MetS; hazard ratio; metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cryptoxanthins / blood
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lutein / blood
  • Lycopene
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Zeaxanthins / blood
  • beta Carotene / blood


  • Cryptoxanthins
  • Zeaxanthins
  • beta Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • alpha-carotene
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein