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Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated that carotenoid concentrations relate inversely to cardiovascular disease incidence. Thus, we examined the association of circulating carotenoids with hypertension, a major macrovascular disease risk factor.Black and White men and women in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study, aged 18–30 years at recruitment (1985–1986) from four US cities, were investigated over 20 years. At years 0, 7, and 15, we determined the relationships of the sum of four serum carotenoids (α-carotene, β-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin) and of lycopene with incident hypertension using proportional hazards regression models.In 4412 participants, year 0 sum of four carotenoids was significantly inversely associated with 20-year hypertension incidence after adjustment for baseline systolic blood pressure and other confounding factors (relative hazard per SD increase of sum of four carotenoids: 0.91; 95% confidence interval = 0.84–0.99). The inverse relationships persisted in time-dependent models updating year 0 sum of four carotenoids with year 7 and year 15 values (relative hazard per SD increase of sum of four carotenoids: 0.84; 95% confidence interval = 0.77–0.92). Lycopene was unrelated to hypertension in any model.Those individuals with higher concentrations of sum of carotenoids, not including lycopene, generally had lower risk for future hypertension.