Bioavailability of Carotenoids – Influence of Co-ingested Proteins

Project Details


Background: Carotenoids are presumably health beneficial secondary plant compounds, as their consumption viathe diet and their levels in body tissues (e.g. blood plasma) have been related to the reduced incidence of chronicdiseases, including type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, several carotenoids are provitamin-Aconstituents, and appear to be involved in age-related macular degeneration, the major cause of blindness in theelderly. However, owing to their rather low water solubility requiring emulsification prior to their potential absorption,carotenoids are of low and varying bioavailability (10-20% for e.g. beta-carotene), depending on host, but also ondietary factors including dietary fibre, lipids, and possibly other nutrients such as minerals or compounds competingfor absorption (e.g. fat soluble vitamins). However, not much is known on the interaction between proteins andcarotenoids during gastric and small intestinal digestion and solubilisation/micellization of carotenoids, aprerequisite for their bioavailability. Several proteins have been shown to have emulsifying properties duringdigestion, stabilizing oil-in-water emulsions, which can be expected to result in smaller sizes of digestible lipiddroplets, possibly enhancing carotenoid micellization. While proteins have been employed in the production ofencapsulated carotenoids (e.g. whey protein isolate (WPI) or sodium caseinate (SC)), the interaction betweenproteins with carotenoids in food matrices have, to our knowledge, never been studied systematically.Proposed Study and Aim: We propose the conduction of a human trial to investigate the effect of added proteins oncarotenoid bioavailability from a test food, possibly a leafy vegetable (e.g. spinach). Preceding the human trial, in-vitro studies will be conducted, by means of simulated gastro-intestinal digestion coupled to Caco-2 cellular uptakemodels to select proteins most strongly interacting with carotenoid solubilisation, mixed micelle formation,absorption aspects as well as colonic fermentation.Materials and Methods: A consensus protocol (based on EU-Cost action FA-1005) will be employed to study theinteraction of several proteins (including WPI, SC, soy-protein isolate, gelatin) with carotenoid (solubilized)standards (lutein, beta-carotene, lycopene, neoxanthin), as well as carotenoid containing solid and liquid matrices(spinach, apricot, carrot juice, tomato juice), on digestion (surface tension, protein digestion, lipid digestion, micellesize, zeta-potential etc.) and carotenoid availability (recovery, bioaccessibility, Caco-2 cellular uptake). Theinteraction with gastric lipases (e.g. Aspergillus niger) will be studied. Digestion parameters in the gastric phase,the small intestine, and the colon will be studied, and metabolites/degradation products scrutinized. The human trialwill consist of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind postprandial cross-over trial with 24 subjects,receiving either test food (e.g. spinach) plus a drink (e.g. skimmed milk) with starch, and 2 promising proteins Generated 20/04/2016 15:32 Page 2 / 53
(given at approx. half the RDA amount), selected following in-vitro studies. Carotenoid bioavailability will beassessed by HPLC (LC-MS-MS if needed) in the triacyl-rich-lipoprotein fraction, representing newly absorbedcarotenoids. Expected results: We hypothesize that proteins will enhance the solubilisation and digestion of lipid droplets,reduce their size, and foster the transition of lipid droplets to mixed micelles, at least for some proteins, and thatthis will result in improved carotenoid bioaccessibility, cellular uptake, and also enhanced bioavailability in vivo.This may have implications for dietary recommendations, e.g. for subjects consuming limited amounts of meat(vegetarians, developing countries), and for companies producing functional foods/food supplements, and couldalso have consequences for other liposoluble micronutrients (vitamins A/D/K).
Effective start/end date1/02/1730/04/21


  • FNR - Fonds National de la Recherche: €534,000.00


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