Beta-carotene (vitamin A) and men’s heart health
by Newsletter Editor
Carotenoids, the brightly colored pigments in fruits and vegetables, appear to lower chances for heart trouble. These two studies measured circulating levels of carotenoids and chances of cardiovascular diseases.
In the first study, researchers sought a link between carotenoid levels and congestive heart failure (CHF) — a condition where the heart weakens and does not pump enough blood to the body. Doctors followed 1,031 men, aged 46 to 65, for 16 years and found those with the lowest levels of beta-carotene were nearly three times as likely to develop CHF as men with the highest levels of beta-carotene.
In the second study, following the same group of men for 16 years, researchers sought a link between carotenoids and sudden cardiac death—an unexpected failure of heart function. Again, doctors found a link to the carotenoid beta-carotene: those with the lowest beta-carotene levels were twice as likely to have sudden cardiac death compared to men with the highest beta-carotene levels. Discussing their findings, doctors said they are not sure if low beta-carotene levels are a cause of heart trouble or a result of the chronic inflammation in coronary artery disease, which may also lower antioxidant levels such as beta-carotene.
Reference: Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012; 22(10): 921-8