Effects of Mixed Carotenoids on Adipokines and Abdominal Adiposity in Children: A Pilot Study

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Jun 1;102(6):1983-1990. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-00185.


Context: Carotenoids have been implicated in the regulation of adipocyte metabolism.

Objective: To compare the effects of mixed-carotenoid supplementation (MCS) versus placebo on adipokines and the accrual of abdominal adiposity in children with obesity.

Design and setting: Randomized (1:1), double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial to evaluate the effects of MCS over 6 months in a subspecialty clinic.

Participants: Twenty (6 male and 14 female) children with simple obesity [body mass index (BMI) > 90%], a mean age (± standard deviation) of 10.5 ± 0.4 years, and Tanner stage I to V were enrolled; 17 participants completed the trial.

Intervention: MCS (which contains β-carotene, α-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, astaxanthin, and γ-tocopherol) or placebo was administered daily.

Main outcome measures: Primary outcomes were change in β-carotene, abdominal fat accrual (according to magnetic resonance imaging), and BMI z-score; secondary outcomes were adipokines and markers of insulin resistance.

Results: Cross-sectional analysis of β-carotene showed inverse correlation with BMI z-score, waist-to-height ratio, visceral adipose tissue, and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) at baseline. MCS increased β-carotene, total adiponectin, and high-molecular-weight adiponectin compared with placebo. MCS led to a greater reduction in BMI z-score, waist-to-height ratio, and SAT compared with placebo. The percentage change in β-carotene directly correlated with the percentage change in SAT.

Conclusions: The decrease in BMI z-score, waist-to-height ratio, and SAT and the concomitant increase in the concentration of β-carotene and high-molecular-weight adiponectin by MCS suggest the putative beneficial role of MCS in children with obesity.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02060279.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Adipokines / immunology
  • Adiponectin / immunology
  • Carotenoids / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Lutein / therapeutic use
  • Lycopene
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Obesity, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging
  • Obesity, Abdominal / immunology
  • Obesity, Abdominal / prevention & control*
  • Pediatric Obesity / diagnostic imaging
  • Pediatric Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Pediatric Obesity / immunology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Subcutaneous Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Waist-Height Ratio
  • Xanthophylls / therapeutic use
  • Zeaxanthins / therapeutic use
  • beta Carotene / therapeutic use
  • gamma-Tocopherol / therapeutic use


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adipokines
  • Adiponectin
  • Xanthophylls
  • Zeaxanthins
  • beta Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • alpha-carotene
  • gamma-Tocopherol
  • astaxanthine
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02060279