A new study from France reports that elevated blood concentrations of antioxidant beta-carotene seem to reduce the levels of inflammatory markers for cardiovascular disease.
The observational study analyzed data on blood concentrations of antioxidant nutrients (vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene) and the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein (CRP) among about 2000 participants (1). The study results showed that participants with low blood beta-carotene concentrations had elevated CRP concentrations (above 3 mg/l) after 12 years. A subgroup analysis showed that this association was stronger in women, never smokers and participants who used supplements for at least eight years at recommended doses. Low serum vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) and vitamin C concentrations were not linked to elevated CRP concentrations.
The researchers commented that these findings indicate that and adequate beta-carotene status my help to reduce biomarkers for low-grade inflammation promoting cardiovascular disease long-term. Antioxidant micronutrients have consistent anti-inflammatory properties and appear to be involved in all stages of the inflammatory response. In addition, carotenoids seem to have antioxidant-independent immune-enhancing properties by influencing gene expression (2). Other than the new study, earlier observational studies showed a significant association between higher vitamin C blood concentrations and lower CRP values (3). The new results need to be confirmed by randomized controlled trials, with a dynamic assessment of both nutrient and inflammatory status, the scientists said.