The role of carotenoids in disease prevention
Many studies have linked the regular consumption of carotenoid-rich food- stuffs to a reduced risk for the incidence of a number of diseases. Under discus- sion as basic mechanisms for this pro- tective effect are the antioxidant activity of carotenoids and their biochemical ability to influence signal transmission in cells. A sufficient intake of carotenoids to support the body’s own antioxidative network could there- fore combat the development of diseases that are stimulated by oxidative damage to cell constituents. Since these micro- nutrients are fat-soluble they act mainly in cell membranes and lipoproteins to protect against excessive oxidation. There they can help prevent cell mutation – and therefore the deve- lopment of cancer – and the formation of atherosclerosis, which is a cause of cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin E intake requirements to meet the needs of modern lifestyles
The main function of vitamin E is to protect against damage of reactive oxygen species. It also has non-antioxi- dant functions in cell signaling, gene expression and regulation. While overt vitamin E deficiency is present only in patients with severe malnutrition and certain chronic diseases, it is estimated that up to three-quarters of the popula- tion in developed countries such as the United States do not meet the dietary intake recommendations for vitamin E. Moreover, results of epidemiological studies suggest a benefi- cial effect of vitamin E on cardiovascular health at intakes higher than current recommendations. Experts propose to develop markers of vitamin E status, functionality, and health in order to define the actual vitamin E requirements of healthy individuals.
A new study from Australia reports that low blood vitamin D concentrations during pregnancy seem to be a risk factor for the development of postpartum depression symptoms.
According to a new UK study, eating seven or more portions of vitamin- and carotenoid-rich fruit and vegetables a day reduces the mortality risk at any point in time by 42% compared to eating less than one portion.