Bioavailability of β-carotene is lower in raw than in processed carrots and spinach in women

Cheryl L. Rock, Jennifer L. Lovalvo, Curt Emenhiser, Mack T. Ruffin, Shirley W. Flatt, Steven J. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

204 Scopus citations

Abstract

Populations at risk of vitamin A deficiency usually rely on dietary provitamin A carotenoids to meet vitamin A needs, yet bioavailability of these compounds is influenced by several factors as follows: location in the plant source, the presence of other influencing dietary components, and type and extent of processing. The purpose of this study was to examine the plasma β-carotene response to raw vs. processed carrots and spinach. Subjects were eight healthy females aged 23-36 y who consumed ~9.3 mg β-carotene daily from either raw or thermally processed and pureed vegetables in two 4-wk treatment periods in a crossover study. Plasma concentrations of total, all- trans-, and cis-β-carotene and α-carotene were measured at base line and the end of each treatment period by using HPLC assays. Total and all-trans (but not cis) plasma β-carotene concentrations were significantly greater than base-line concentrations in the processed feeding period (P < 0.04) and tended to be greater in the raw feeding period (P = 0.08). Daily consumption of processed carrots and spinach over a 4-wk period produced an increase in plasma β-carotene concentration that averaged three times that associated with consumption of the same amount of β-carotene from these vegetables in the raw form (P = 0.09). Increased cis isomers provided in the processed vegetables did not result in significantly greater plasma cis-β-carotene isomer concentrations. These results suggest that isomerization of β- carotene by heat treatment does not negate the enhanced β-carotene uptake associated with consuming commercially processed vegetables compared with raw vegetables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-916
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume128
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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