Carotenoids may halve metabolic syndrome risk

April 14, 2009

Increased intakes of antioxidant carotenoids, particularly lycopene, may reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome by about 50%, says a Dutch study.

Scientists reported that data from a population study showed 374 middle-aged and elderly men with highest average intake of all carotenoids had a 58% lower incidence of metabolic syndrome, while the highest intake of lycopene was associated with a 45% lower incidence compared to men with the lowest average intakes (1). A potentially protective effect was also observed for beta-carotene intakes. Intakes were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition characterized by central obesity (as main risk factor), hypertension , and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease . Fifteen per cent of adult Europeans are estimated to be affected by metabolic syndrome, while the US statistic has estimated 32%.

In conclusion, higher total carotenoid intakes, mainly those of beta-carotene and lycopene, were associated with a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome and with lower measures of obesity and serum triglyceride concentrations, wrote the researchers.


  1. Sluijs I. et al. Dietary Carotenoid Intake Is Associated with Lower Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome in Middle-Aged and Elderly Men Journal of Nutrition, 2009; 139(5):987–992.