Beta-carotene intake and risk of nonfatal acute myocardial infarction in women

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There are indications that beta-carotene, but not pre-formed vitamin A, is protective on the risk of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The relationship between nonfatal AMI and the intake of beta-carotene and retinol was investigated in a case-control study conducted between 1983 and 1992 in northern Italy on 433 women with nonfatal AMI and 869 controls in hospital for acute, non-cardiovascular, non-neoplastic, non-digestive, non-hormone related conditions. Odds ratios (OR), with their 95% confidence intervals (CI), were computed by unconditional multiple logistic regression analysis, including terms for age, education, body mass index, smoking, alcohol and coffee drinking, menopausal status, hormone replacement therapy and history of diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. The risk of AMI was inversely related to beta-carotene intake, with an OR of 0.5 (95% CI: 0.3 to 0.8) for the highest quintile of intake compared to the lowest (χ2 trend = 10.53, p < 0.01). Retinol intake was not associated with AMI, with an OR of 0.9 (95% CI: 0.6 to 1.3) for the highest quintile of intake compared to the lowest. Analysis in separate strata of covariates indicated that the inverse association of beta-carotene intake with risk of AMI was appreciably stronger in younger, lean women with no history of diabetes or hypertension, and in current smokers. The results of this study indicate that the risk of nonfatal AMI in women is inversely related to intake of beta-carotene containing foods, but not foods containing retinol.

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