~ Carotenoid Beta-Cryptoxanthin Protects Against Inflammatory Polyarthritis

Researchers at England's University of Manchester's School of Medicine have found that men and women whose diets contain higher amounts of beta-cryptoxanthin as well as vitamin C have a lower risk of developing inflammatory polyarthritis (IP), including rhematoid arthritis. Beta-cryptoxanthin is a carotenoid found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as oranges and carrots.

Working with researchers from the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, Dr Dorothy Pattison and her Manchester colleagues determined the intake of carotenoids from the diet diaries and the results of health questionnaires completed by over 25,000 participants in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer Norolk study of diet and chronic disease. The subjects, who were between the ages of 45 and 74 upon enrollment, were followed for nine years during which 88 cases of inflammatory polyarthritis were diagnosed.

When participants with inflammatory polyarthritis were compared to 176 age and gender-matched control subjects, beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxathin emerged as the carotenoids offering the greatest protection against the disease. Dr Pattison summarized the results: "We found that the average daily beta-cryptoxanthin intake of the 88 patients who had developed inflammatory polyarthritis was 40% lower than those who hadn't, and their intake of another carotenoid, zeaxanthin, was 20% lower. Those in the top third for beta-cryptoxanthin intake were only half as likely to develop IP as those in the lowest third, and vitamin C was also found to be an important factor."

Earlier research has indicated that the antioxidant activity of beta-cryptoxanthin and vitamin C are protective against oxidative damage in the body that leads to inflammatory conditions. The results of the current study confirm previous findings by Dr Pattison that associated low fruit and vegetable intake with an elevated risk of developing inflammatory polyarthritis.

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