Dietary lipids are hypothesized to be an important factor for carotenoid bioavailability. However, most carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables are low in lipids. The objective of this study was to assess whether the addition of avocado fruit as a lipid source enhances carotenoid absorption in humans. Healthy subjects (n = 11/ study) were recruited for 2 crossover, postprandial studies. The effect of avocado addition (150 g) to salsa on lycopene and β-carotene absorption was examined in Study 1, and the absorption of lutein, α-carotene, and β-carotene from salad in Study 2. Furthermore, the effects of avocado dose (75 vs. 150 g containing 12 vs. 24 g lipid, respectively) and of lipid source (avocado fruit vs. avocado oil) on carotenoid absorption were examined in Study 2. Intact carotenoids were quantified in the plasma triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein (TRL) fraction during the 9.5 h after consumption of the test meal and expressed as baseline-corrected area under the concentration-vs.-time curve (AUC). The addition of avocado to salsa enhanced lycopene and β-carotene absorption (P < 0.003), resulting in 4.4 and 2.6 times the mean AUC after intake of avocado-free salsa, respectively. In Study 2, supplementing 150 g avocado or 24 g avocado oil to salad similarly enhanced α-carotene, β-carotene, and lutein absorption (P < 0.01), resulting in 7.2, 15.3, and 5.1 times the mean AUC after intake of avocado-free salad, respectively (150 g avocado). Neither the avocado dose nor the lipid source affected carotenoid absorption. In conclusion, adding avocado fruit can significantly enhance carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa, which is attributed primarily to the lipids present in avocado.
- Postprandial absorption
- Triacyglycerol-rich lipoproteins