Effect of supplemental β-carotene on plasma concentrations of carotenoids, retinol, and α-tocopherol in humans

Susan T. Mayne, Brenda Cartmel, Fabricio Silva, Chi S. Kim, Barbara G. Fallon, Kenneth Briskin, Tongzhang Zheng, Marianna Baum, Gail Shor-Posner, W. Jarrard Goodwill

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44 Scopus citations


High doses of β-carotene, a lipid-soluble nutrient, may affect the plasma concentrations of other lipid-soluble nutrients. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of long-term daily supplementation with β- carotene (50 mg/d) on circulating concentrations of other carotenoids, retinol, and α-tocopherol over time. Data were available from 259 men and women participating in the Carotene Prevention Trial, a 2-center chemoprevention trial designed to determine whether supplemental β-carotene can prevent second malignant tumors in patients cured of an early stage cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, or larynx. Up to 2 blood samples were obtained before the intervention (before and after a 1-mo placebo run-in), with postrandomization samples obtained at 3, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 mo. Supplementation with β-carotene produced a persistent 9- to 10-fold increase in median plasma β-carotene concentrations (225 nmol/L at baseline to 2255 nmol/L at 3 mo) and a persistent 2-fold increase in median plasma α-carotene concentrations (45 nmol/L at baseline to 95 nmol/L at 3 mo). Concentrations of retinol, α-tocopherol, lycopene, and lutein/zeaxanthin were not affected by supplemental β-carotene. Up to 5 y of daily supplementation with β- carotene increased circulating concentrations of α- and β-carotene, but did not alter concentrations of lycopene, lutein/zeaxanthin, retinol, or α- tocopherol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-647
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes



  • α- tocopherol
  • β- Carotene
  • Adults
  • Carotene Prevention Trial
  • Carotenoids
  • Humans
  • Lutein/zeaxanthin
  • Lycopene
  • Retinol
  • Supplements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science

Cite this

Mayne, S. T., Cartmel, B., Silva, F., Kim, C. S., Fallon, B. G., Briskin, K., Zheng, T., Baum, M., Shor-Posner, G., & Goodwill, W. J. (1998). Effect of supplemental β-carotene on plasma concentrations of carotenoids, retinol, and α-tocopherol in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 68(3), 642-647. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/68.3.642