A new study has linked beta-carotene to heart diseases. The correlation states that intake of beta-carotene shows lower incidence of deaths in elderly with heart diseases.
The association between the risk and beta-carotene intake is still significant after considering other risk factors, according to the authors of the study.
The finding apparently contradicts previous studies that either suggest the carotenoid raises the risk of cancer in smokers, or carotene supplements do not prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The contradictory findings indicate a possibility that the preventive effect can only manifest itself when carotene is taken along with other nutrients such as antioxidants in a diet, according to the study.
The current study investigated the association of plasma carotene (alpha- and beta-carotene) and alpha-tocopherol with all-cause and cause-specific mortality in elderly people.
The current study involved 1168 elderly men and women in Belgium, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Researchers analyzed data from five studies on carotene and alpha-tocopherol in the blood.
After a 10-year follow-up, researchers did not find any association between alpha-tocopherol and all-cause or cause-specific mortality.
Carotene, on the other hand, was associated with a lower mortality for cancer. Carotene was also linked with a lower risk of death from heart disease, but only in those with a normal body weight or body mass index (BMI) less than 25.
The study was conducted by Brian Buijsse and colleagues from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and colleagues in Swiss and French.