High levels of dietary carotenoids, especially beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, are associated with reduced type 2 diabetes risk in generally healthy men and women, data from of a prospective study published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases suggest.

To investigate the relationship between higher dietary carotenoid intakes and type 2 diabetes risk and whether smoking modifies these associations, researchers analyzed dietary carotenoids intake data collected in validated food frequency questionnaire from 37,846 participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands (EPIC-NL) study. The participants were followed-up for a mean of 10 years. 31% of the participants were smokers.

Upon assessing dietary carotenoids intake levels consisting of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and the total of these 6 carotenoids, the results showed that higher dietary intakes of beta- and alpha-carotene were associated with reduced diabetes risk.

On the other hand, dietary intakes of beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin were not associated with diabetes risk. Interestingly, smoking was not shown to modify any of these associations.

 “This study shows us that among the six common dietary carotenoids, consuming high levels of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene leads to reduction of type 2 diabetes risk in healthy men and women, at the same time, smoking status does not alter the benefit,” says Bryan See, Regional Product Manager, ExcelVite Inc.


Dietary intake of carotenoids and risk of type 2 diabetes. Sluijs, I. et al. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 2015, Volume 25, Issue 4, 376 – 381.