Antioxidant vitamins and cardiovascular disease

Only carotenoid intake associated with CVD risk

A 0.6 mg/d alpha-carotene greater intake at entry was associated with a 19% lower 15-year risk of CVD mortality in elderly men in Zutphen. Men with a 1.5 mg/d beta-carotene greater intake had a 20% lower  CVD mortality risk. Carrots are the primary source of alpha- and beta-carotene and a high consumption of carrots was related to a 17% lower risk of CVD mortality. Alpha- and gamma tocopherol, and vitamin C intake were not related to cardiovascular mortality.

Conflicting results on carotenoids

Early reports of others in prospective cohort studies suggested that a high intake of beta-carotene was associated with a lower CVD risk. But in sharp contrast, large-scale trials conducted in high risk persons (e.g. smokers) showed that supplements of a large amount of beta-carotene apparently did not decrease but rather increased CVD risk. The role of carotenoids in CVD prevention, therefore, remains controversial.

The Zutphen Elderly Study results suggest that only the intake alpha- and beta-carotene was inversely related to CVD mortality.


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