According to a study published in January 2013, low blood levels of beta-carotene increase the risk of developing congestive heart failure (CHF). Approximately 5.7 million Americans have heart failure, and it is estimated that 50 percent of those individuals will die within five years of diagnosis.
Researchers evaluated data from 1,030 males between 46 and 65 years of age. The investigators collected data including blood levels of the carotenoids beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene. The researchers followed the subjects for an average of 17.8 years to assess the development of CHF.
The investigators found 72 cases of CHF among the subjects during the follow-up period. The researchers showed that the subjects with the lowest blood levels of beta-carotene had more than four-times the risk of developing CHF compared to the men with the highest levels.
After adjusting the data for potential confounding factors, the men with the lowest beta-carotene still had nearly three-times the risk of CHF compared to the men with the highest levels. The researchers did not find any association between alpha-carotene or lycopene and CHF.
The study authors concluded, “The present study suggests that low concentrations of [blood] beta-carotene may be associated with an increased risk of CHF.”
Karppi J, et al. Int J Cardiol. 2013 Jan 17. [Epub ahead of print.]