The Association of Serum Carotenoids, Tocopherols, and Ascorbic Acid With Rapid Kidney Function Decline: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study

J Ren Nutr. 2019 Jan;29(1):65-73. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2018.05.008. Epub 2018 Aug 8.


Objective: Nutritional intervention targeting dietary intake modification is a major component of treatment for chronic kidney disease; however, little is known about the relationship between dietary intake and kidney function decline in individuals with preserved kidney function.

Design and methods: In this prospective cohort study we examined the association of biomarkers of dietary intake with kidney function decline over a 5-year interval in 2,152 men and women with cystatin-C-based estimated glomerular filtration rate > 60 mL/minute/1.73 m2 from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study. The biomarkers of interest included carotenoids, tocopherols, and ascorbic acid. Multivariable logistic regression was used to explore the relationship between serum concentrations of the sum of 4 carotenoids (α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, and lutein/zeaxanthin), lycopene, α-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol, and ascorbic acid and rapid kidney function decline, defined as .15% decline in cystatin-C-based estimated glomerular filtration rate over 5 years.

Results: During the 5-year follow-up, 290 participants (13.5%) experienced rapid kidney function decline. Relative to individuals in the lowest quartile of serum carotenoids, those in the highest quartile had significantly lower odds of rapid kidney function decline in the fully adjusted model (odds ratio, 0.51; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32-0.80; P trend, .02). No association of levels of serum tocopherols, ascorbic acid, or lycopene with kidney function decline was found. There was no evidence that results differed for individuals with hypertension or diabetes.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that higher serum carotenoid levels, reflective of a fruit- and vegetable-rich dietary pattern, inversely associate with rapid kidney function decline in early middle adulthood and provide insight into how diet might play a role in chronic kidney disease prevention.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Diet / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Insufficiency / blood*
  • Renal Insufficiency / physiopathology*
  • Risk
  • Tocopherols / blood*
  • Vegetables


  • Biomarkers
  • Carotenoids
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Tocopherols