Association Between Antioxidant Intake/Status and Obesity: a Systematic Review of Observational Studies

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2017 Feb;175(2):287-297. doi: 10.1007/s12011-016-0785-1. Epub 2016 Jun 22.


The global prevalence of obesity has doubled in recent decades. Compelling evidences indicated that obesity was associated with lower concentrations of specific antioxidants which may play a role in the development of obesity-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease. The present review aimed to synthesize the evidence from studies on the association between obesity and antioxidant micronutrients in a systematic manner. Data bases including MEDLINE, Science Direct, and Cochrane were searched from inception to October 2015. Thirty-one articles were reviewed using the MOOSE checklist. Lower concentrations of antioxidants have been reported in obese individuals among age groups worldwide. Circulatory levels of carotenoids, vitamins E and C, as well as zinc, magnesium, and selenium were inversely correlated with obesity and body fat mass. However, studies demonstrated inconsistencies in findings. Lower status of carotenoids, vitamins E and C, zinc, magnesium, and selenium appears to be associated with adiposity. Intervention studies may be needed to establish the causality of these associations.

Keywords: Adiposity; Carotenoids; Obesity; Vitamin C; Vitamin E; Zinc.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity*
  • Antioxidants* / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants* / pharmacokinetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Micronutrients* / administration & dosage
  • Micronutrients* / pharmacokinetics
  • Obesity* / blood
  • Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Observational Studies as Topic


  • Antioxidants
  • Micronutrients