Public Health Nutrition

Nutrition and Health

Antioxidant intake from diet and supplements and elevated serum C-reactive protein and plasma homocysteine concentrations in US adults: a cross-sectional study

Anna Floegela1a2, Sang-Jin Chunga3, Anne von Ruestena2, Meng Yanga1, Chin E Chunga4, Won O Songa5, Sung I Kooa1, Tobias Pischona2 and Ock K Chuna1 c1

a1 Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, 3624 Horsebarn Road Extension Unit 4017, Storrs, CT 06269-4017, USA

a2 Department of Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Nuthetal, Germany

a3 Department of Foods and Nutrition, Kookmin University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

a4 Department of Food and Nutrition, Ansan College, Ansan, Republic of Korea

a5 Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA


Objective To investigate the association of antioxidant intakes from diet and supplements with elevated blood C-reactive protein (CRP) and homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations.

Design A cross-sectional study. The main exposures were vitamins C and E, carotene, flavonoid and Se intakes from diet and supplements. Elevated blood CRP and Hcy concentrations were the outcome measures.

Setting The US population and its subgroups.

Subjects We included 8335 US adults aged ≥19 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2002.

Results In this US population, the mean serum CRP concentration was 4·14 (95 % CI 3·91, 4·37) mg/l. Intakes of vitamins C and E and carotene were inversely associated with the probability of having serum CRP concentrations >3 mg/l in multivariate logistic regression models. Flavonoid and Se intakes were not associated with the odds of elevated serum CRP concentrations. The mean plasma Hcy concentration was 8·61 (95 % CI 8·48, 8·74) μmol/l. Intakes of vitamins C, E, carotenes and Se were inversely associated with the odds of plasma Hcy concentrations >13 μmol/l after adjusting for covariates. Flavonoid intake was not associated with the chance of elevated plasma Hcy concentrations.

Conclusions These results suggest that high antioxidant intake is associated with lower blood concentrations of CRP and Hcy. These inverse associations may be among the potential mechanisms for the beneficial effect of antioxidant intake on CVD risk mediators in observational studies.

(Received July 27 2010)

(Accepted January 23 2011)

(Online publication March 18 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Email