Study finds a decrease in deaths caused by heart disease in older men with a high intake of alpha and beta-carotene
Scientists at Wageningen University in The Netherlands examined data on 559
men with an average age of 72 years old who were followed for 15 years. They
were free of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer at the beginning of
the study. Information on dietary intake collected in 1985, 1990, and 1995 was
analyzed for intake levels of carotenoids, vitamin C, tocopherols, and other
At the end of the follow-up period, there were 89 deaths from ischemic heart
disease, 52 deaths from stroke, and 56 from other cardiovascular causes. The
researchers found a reduction in cardiovascular deaths associated with alpha-carotene
and beta-carotene, as well as for carrots, an abundant source of these nutrients.
In their discussion of the findings, the authors remark that both alpha and
beta-carotene are important antioxidants, and that circulating carotenoids are
associated with a reduction in inflammation and improved endothelial function
meaning better blood flow, improved cardiovascular health, and a decreased risk
of developing hardening of the arteries.
The tiniest particles of air pollution may be particularly bad for the
A new study links ultrafine particles from traffic to worse hardening of the
arteries in an animal study and they "may constitute a significant cardiovascular
risk factor," according to Jesus Araujo, MD, PhD, of UCLA. The team studied
air pollution and atherosclerosis in a mobile lab near a Los Angeles highway.
They piped outside air into the lab, filtering it to varying degrees for three
groups of mice.
One group breathed air laced with ultrafine particles. A second group breathed
air containing ultrafine and larger particles. The third group breathed air
free of particles. The study lasted for 40 days. During that time, mice breathing
air that only contained ultrafine particles developed the worst atherosclerosis.
The tiny particles had a big impact on health. The mice that also breathed bigger
particulates also got atherosclerosis, but it wasn't as severe. Ultrafine particulates
also hampered HDL; the good cholesterol, from fighting inflammation, the study
shows. The findings appear online ahead of print in the journal Cardiovascular