β-carotene (trans or cis isomer)

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1 β-carotene (trans or cis isomer)

2 Overview Natural beta-carotene contains a mixture of different isomers (cis and trans) of the betacarotene molecule. Synthetically produced beta-carotene is nature identical. Most food sources contain both trans and cis isomers, although some foods such as raw carrots contain up to 98% trans isomers, making their beta-carotene content similar to synthetic sources.

3 B-Carotene Compositions Source All-trans- -carotene Composition (%) 9-cis- -carotene -carotene other Palm oil Algae Synthesis Fermented

4 Are the Two Isomers of Beta-Carotene Absorbed Differently? Conversions between isomeric forms occur in various cells and tissues of the body. Several trials reveal that the majority of cis-beta-carotene is changed to the trans-form in the human gut. A Cornell University study demonstrated that 95% of cis-beta-carotene was converted to trans-beta-carotene during absorption. (You CS, Parker R, Goodman KJ, et al. Evidence of cis-trans isomerization of 9-cis-beta-carotene during absorption in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1996;64: ) Formulations containing only trans isomers are absorbed more efficiently and raise plasma levels of all beta-carotene isomers to a greater extent than cis-trans mixtures.

5 Digestion and Absorption of Beta-Carotenes Absorption of Beta-carotene and other carotenoids from vegetables is usually 5-30 percent of the absorption from synthetic supplements. Gastric ph level has been found to alter B-carotene absorption. Dietary fat is a factor in carotenoid absorption. Absorption studies exploring individual isomers are difficult given that some B-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the intestinal lumen and some is unabsorbed and lost in the feces.

6 Cis Versus All-trans and Differences in Absorption The majority of carotenoids in nature occur in the all-trans form, which is molecularly identical to synthetically produced trans B-carotene. Raw carrots, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes are nearly devoid of the cis isomer; 98 percent of the B-carotene in raw carrots is in the trans form.

7 Cis Versus All-trans and Differences in Absorption Multiple studies have compared human absorption of trans B-carotene with a natural isomeric mix of trans and cis B-carotene from algal sources. The trans isomer is the most common form in human tissue, comprising up to 60 percent of the total B-carotene content. Data from absorption studies show clear differences in absorption among the isomeric forms. Multiple studies have compared human absorption of trans B-carotene with a natural isomeric mix of trans and cis B-carotene from algal sources.

8 Cis Versus All-trans and Differences in Absorption (Study Parameters) Gaziano, et al. 24 adult M + F for 6 days 100 mg synthetic vs. 66 or 100 mg algal source (trans/cis ratio=50:50) Jensen, et al. 16 adult M and F for 7 days 24 mg [Beta]- carotene algal source: (trans/cis ratio=40:60) 24 mg [Beta]-carotene raw carrot: (98% all-trans) You, et al. 3 adult M and F single dose 1 mg [Beta]- carotene (99.4% cis)- radioactively labeled ([sup.13]c) Tamai, et al. 30 adult M 60 mg of either: algal [Beta]- carotene (trans/9-cis ratio=50:50) vs. all trans or placebo - 44 weeks

9 Cis Versus All-trans and Differences in Absorption (Results) Gaziano, et al. 160% increase in plasma [Beta]- carotene with synthetic, all trans form. 87% increase in plasma [Beta]-carotene with natural algal form Jensen, et al. algal source: serum cis-carotenoid increase 9.6% of total serum [Beta]-carotene carrot source: serum cis-carotenoid: 7.1% total serum [Beta]-carotene You, et al.>95% of 13 C [Beta]-carotene in plasma found as trans isomer (14-52%) and retinol Tamai, et al.levels of both cis (77%) and trans (116%) isomers significantly higher with all-trans [Beta]-carotene

10 Conclusion The efficient uptake of trans B-carotene and isomerization in the gut to cis B-carotene appears to make the synthetic form more desirable for effective absorption. The transport mechanisms of cis B- carotenoids may be different than those defined for trans B-carotenoids and may explain their appearance in tissues at greater levels than those found in plasma.

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