Background/Aims: To compare the impact of consuming high carotenoid (HC) (β -carotene of 176, 425 μg/week) versus low carotenoid (LC) (2,073 μg /week) fruit and vegetables (FV) on skin colour and plasma carotenoid concentrations over a 4 -week period.
Methods: Thirty women (mean ± SD age 22.2 ± 2.6 years, BMI 25.8 ± 6.3 kg/m2) were provided 7 serves a day of HC or LC FV for 4 weeks in a randomised cross-over trial. Skin colour was measured using spectrophotometry at nine body sites and CIE L*a*b* values recorded. Fasting plasma carotenoids (α, β-carotene, lutein, lycopene, cryptoxanthin) were assessed using high performance liquid chromatography. Fruit, vegetable and dietary carotenoid intakes were assessed using the Australian Eating Survey food frequency questionnaire. Linear mixed models were used to assess the dose response adjusted for order, time and interaction between baseline differences and time.
Results: Dietary α, β-carotene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin intakes were significantly different between HC and LC (p<0.001), but there were no significant differences in total daily serves of fruit (p=0.42) and vegetables (p=0.17). The HC dose had a significantly greater impact on both exposed (0.5, p<0.001) and unexposed (0.7, p<0.001) skin yellowness (b*) but not on skin lightness (L*) or redness (a*). Significantly higher plasma alpha (p<0.001) β–carotene (p<0.001) and lutein (p=0.03) concentration were recorded for HC.
Conclusions: HC fruit and vegetables have a greater impact on skin colour yellowness and plasma carotenoids. The clinical significance requires further investigation.
Funding source(s): HMRI