Increased intakes of carotenoids may reduce hip fracture risk in men

August 7, 2013

The antioxidant effects of carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin may counteract the mechanism of osteoporosis and related risk of fractures in elderly men, suggests a new study from China.

The prospective cohort study estimated the carotenoid intakes and fruit and vegetable consumption (based on food frequency questionnaires) of 63,257 men and women aged 45 74 years over a mean period of 9.9 years, as well as documenting cases of hip fracture (1). The study results showed that among men, con-sumption of vegetables was associated with lower hip fracture risk. Similarly, higher dietary intake of total carotenoids and specific carotenoids (such as beta-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin) was associated with a significantly reduced hip fracture risk of between 26% and 39%. No such associations were observed among women.

The researchers commented that these findings support experimental and epidemiological data suggesting that carotenoids in vegetables and fruits may benefit bone health due to their antioxidant properties. Thus, an adequate intake of carotenoids may reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures among the elderly. An earlier case-control study involving 646 Chinese hip fracture patients reported that greater consumption of both fruit and vegetables in men and vegetables in women seems to decrease the risk of osteoporotic frac-tures (2). No plausible explanation for the sex difference has yet been suggested.


  1. Dai Z. et al. Protective effects of dietary carotenoids on risk of hip fracture in men: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. J Bone Miner Res. Published online July 2013.
  2. Xie H.-L. et al. Greater intake of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of osteoporotic hip fractures in elderly Chinese: a 1:1 matched case–control study. Osteoporos Int. Published online May 2013.