The effects of lutein and lycopene on β-carotene absorption and cleavage were investigated in 12 male subjects. Responses of carotenoids and retinyl palmitate in the triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein (TRL) fraction after a separate 15-mg β-carotene dose were compared with those after a dose of 15 mg β-carotene combined with 15 mg lycopene or lutein (given as natural concentrates or extracts). After combined dosing with lutein, the areas under the curve (AUCs) of β-carotene and retinyl palmitate in the TRL fraction, adjusted for the triacylglycerol response, were 66% (P = 0.019) and 74% (P <0.059), respectively, compared with 100% after dosing with β-carotene alone. After combined dosing with lycopene these percentages were 90% and 101%, respectively (NS). β-Carotene conversion, estimated from the ratio between the AUC for retinyl esters and β-carotene, assuming eccentric cleavage, was 69%, 71%, and 72% for treatment with only β-carotene, β- carotene combined with lycopene, and β-carotene combined with lutein, respectively. In addition, a pilot study was performed to evaluate application of TRL response curves to measure absorption of carotenoids from vegetable sources (15 mg carotenoid as carrots, spinach, and tomato paste). As compared with the carotenoid concentrates, responses were considerably lower or hardly measurable ([β-carotene and retinyl palmitate after carrots, lutein after spinach), except for lycopene and retinyl palmitate after a single dose of tomato paste. In conclusion, this study showed that lutein, but not lycopene, negatively affected β-carotene absorption when given simultaneously with β-carotene but apparently had no effect on β-carotene cleavage.