The Correlation Between the Dietary Intake of the Fat-soluble, Antioxidant Vitamins Alphatocopherol and Retinol and Their Fasting Plasma Concentrations in Postmenopausal Women

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Amy Olson


Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in older women with 500,000 dying annually. Postmenopausal women have a different relative risk for CHD due to the loss of ovarian function and cessation of menses. Recent epidemiological studies indicate that 1) an increase in -tocopherol is associated with a decreased susceptibility of LDL to oxidative modification. This study examined the dietary intake of -tocopherol and retinol in a group of 32 postmenopausal women, and the correlation between dietary intake and plasma concentrations of these two vitamins. The 3-day diet records indicate that 66% of our population receives the rDA (8mg) of -tocopherol and 93% receives the RDA (800 RE) of retinol. The mean intake is 38.43 mg TE for -tocopherol and 1720 RE for retinol. Weak, positive correlations between intake and plasma concentrations for -tocopherol and retinol were seen with correlations of r=0.326 and 4=0.204 respectively. In general, this population consumes above average quantities of -tocopherol and retinol (NHANES III). However, many are not meeting the RDA for -tocopherol and only five are receiving 100 IU of -tocopherol which is necessary to see antioxidant benefits. The low correlation coefficients between the intake and plasma levels suggest that dietary intake of -tocopherol and retinol cannot accurately predict their plasma concentrations, nor do plasma levels of -tocopherol and retinol reflect intake for the levels consumed by these women.

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