Race differences in the relation of vitamins A, C, E, and β-carotene to metabolic and inflammatory biomarkers.
Using archival data, we conducted a secondary analysis to examine race differences in the relation of serum vitamins A, C, E and β-carotene to insulin resistance (IR), fasting insulin and glucose, high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and leukocyte count in 176 non-smoking, healthy, white, and African American (AA) adults aged 18 to 65 years (48% women, 33% AA). We hypothesized that micronutrient concentrations would be associated with early risk markers of cardiometabolic diseases in a race-dependent manner. Fasting blood samples were analyzed for micronutrients, insulin, glucose, hs-CRP, and leukocyte count. Insulin resistance was estimated using the homeostatic model assessment. After adjusting for age, body mass index, gender, educational level, use of vitamin supplements, alcohol intake, leisure time physical activity, menopausal status, and total cholesterol, we observed that β-carotene was significantly associated with insulin resistance and fasting insulin in a race-dependent manner. Among AA, lower β-carotene levels were associated with higher estimates of insulin resistance and fasting insulin; whereas, these same associations were not significant for whites. Race also significantly moderated the relation of vitamin C to leukocyte count, with lower vitamin C being associated with higher leukocyte count only in AA but not whites. For all subjects, lower β-carotene was associated with higher hs-CRP. In AA, but not whites, lower levels of β-carotene and vitamin C were significantly associated with early risk markers implicated in cardiometabolic conditions and cancer. Whether or not lower levels of micronutrients contribute uniquely to racial health disparities is a worthwhile aim for future research.
Suarez, EC; Schramm-Sapyta, NL
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