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Absorption of beta-carotene and other carotenoids in humans and animal models : a review

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Author: Vliet, T. van
Institution: TNO Voeding
Source:European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suppl. 3, 50, S32-S37
Identifier: 68661
Keywords: Nutrition · Animal models for β-carotene metabolism · Carotenoid absorption · Carotenoid cleavage · Interactions among carotenoids · beta carotene · carotenoid · chylomicron · retinol ester · conference paper · intestine absorption · intestine cell · nonhuman · vitamin metabolism · Animals · beta Carotene · Carotenoids · Humans · Intestinal Absorption · Kinetics · Models, Biological · Animalia


Objective: To review available information on absorption and further metabolism of different carotenoids in man and to discuss animal models and approaches in the study of carotenoid absorption and metabolism in man. Conclusions: Humans appear to absorb various carotenoids in a relatively non-specific fashion, but absorption kinetics and plasma transport seem to differ among carotenoids, possibly because of differences in polarity. Absorbed β-carotene for the most part is converted, mainly into retinyl esters, but several details with respect to the cleavage reaction remain to be elucidated. Although interactions among carotenoids do exist, their importance and the mechanisms involved are still unclear. No animal model reflects the human situation for β-carotene metabolism entirely. Thus, for every research question, the optimal model needs to be selected. Methods available for studying β-carotene metabolism in man are limited. The most promising methods are the single dose-response in chylomicrons, and plasma responses after dosing with stable isotopes.