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Research: Dietary suggestions for carotenoids

02/04/2021 - Sophie Colvine
EU COST project EUROCAROTENE: “From carotenoid intake to carotenoid blood and tissue concentrations – implications for dietary intake recommendations”
Dietary suggestions for major carotenoids like β-carotene, lutein and lycopene which are also present in tomatoes and tomato preparations and tomato-derived products were recently summarised, evaluated and suggested in this current up to date review article by the large European scientific competence network
EU-COST “EUROCAROTENE”, with multiple experts from various expertise in the field of carotenoids. 
Figure: Summary of foods and amounts as examples of a balanced and recommended diet or, alternatively, a common Western diet rich in calories and fats, to fulfil dietary recommended intake of the 2 reference carotenoids: lycopene and β-carotene, as exemplified by the intake of frequently consumed standardized food items available virtually worldwide. (C) For the tomato juice and carrot juice pictures, 3 coins of international currencies were used: 1 Euro, 25 US cents, and 1 Russian ruble, shown exemplified on millimeter-grid paper as an extra figure. A standard liquor glass (40 ml) and a half litre beer tankard (500 ml) were used as a standard measure for the liquid display. Abbreviations: CH, carbohydrates; USDA, US Department of Agriculture.
(source: Nutr Rev, nuaa008,

Scientific abstract: 
There is uncertainty regarding carotenoid intake recommendations, as both positive and negative health effects have been found or correlated with carotenoid intake and tissue levels (including blood, adipose tissue, the macula), depending on the type of study (epidemiological vs. intervention), the dose (physiological vs. supra-physiological) and the matrix (foods vs. supplements, isolated or used in combination). All these factors, combined with inter-individual response variations (depending e.g. on age, sex, disease state, genetic makeup), make the relationship between carotenoid intake and their blood/tissue concentrations often unclear and highly variable. Although blood total carotenoid concentrations <1000 nM have been related to increased chronic disease risk, no dietary reference intakes (DRIs) do exist. While high total plasma/serum carotenoid concentrations of up to 7500 nM are achievable following supplementation, a plateauing effect for higher doses and prolonged intake is apparent. In this review and position paper, we summarize the current knowledge on carotenoids and their main metabolites in serum/plasma and tissues and their relationship to dietary intake and health status, aiming to propose suggestions for a “normal”, safe and desirable range of concentrations that presumably are beneficial for health. Existing recommendations are likewise evaluated and practical dietary suggestions are included.   

Böhm V., Lietz G., Olmedilla-Alonso B., Phelan D., Reboul E., Banati D., Borel P., Corte-Real J., de Lera A.R., Desmarchelier Ch., Dulinsky-Litwka J., Landrier J.F., Milisav I., Nolan J., Porrini M., Riso P., Roob J., Valanou E., Wawrzyniak A., Winkelhof-Roob B., Rühl R., Bohn T. “From Carotenoid Intake to Carotenoid Blood and Tissue Levels - Implication for Dietary Intake Recommendations”; Nutr. Rev. (2020, online and in press)

Full article below or here 
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