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Keywords:

  • nutrition;
  • aging;
  • bone;
  • osteoporosis;
  • population studies

Abstract

In vitro and in vivo studies suggest that carotenoids may inhibit bone resorption, yet no previous study has examined individual carotenoid intake (other than β-carotene) and the risk of fracture. We evaluated associations of total and individual carotenoid intake (α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein + zeaxanthin) with incident hip fracture and nonvertebral osteoporotic fracture. Three hundred seventy men and 576 women (mean age, 75 ± 5 yr) from the Framingham Osteoporosis Study completed a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in 1988–1989 and were followed for hip fracture until 2005 and nonvertebral fracture until 2003. Tertiles of carotenoid intake were created from estimates obtained using the Willett FFQ adjusting for total energy (residual method). HRs were estimated using Cox-proportional hazards regression, adjusting for sex, age, body mass index, height, total energy, calcium and vitamin D intake, physical activity, alcohol, smoking, multivitamin use, and current estrogen use. A total of 100 hip fractures occurred over 17 yr of follow-up. Subjects in the highest tertile of total carotenoid intake had lower risk of hip fracture (p = 0.02). Subjects with higher lycopene intake had lower risk of hip fracture (p = 0.01) and nonvertebral fracture (p = 0.02). A weak protective trend was observed for total β-carotene for hip fracture alone, but associations did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.10). No significant associations were observed with α-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, or lutein + zeaxanthin. These results suggest a protective role of several carotenoids for bone health in older adults.