Carotenoids as protection against sarcopenia in older adults

Richard D. Semba, Fulvio Lauretani, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Sarcopenia, or loss of muscle mass and strength, plays a major role in the disablement process in older adults and increases the risk of impaired physical performance, falls, physical disability, frailty, and death. Oxidative stress is a major mechanism implicated in the pathogenesis of sarcopenia; aging muscle shows increased oxidative damage to DNA, protein, and lipids. Carotenoids quench free radicals, reduce damage from reactive oxygen species, and appear to modulate redox-sensitive transcription factors such as NF-κB that are involved in the upregulation of IL-6 and other proinflammatory cytokines. Recent epidemiological studies in community-dwelling older adults show that low serum/plasma carotenoids are independently associated with low skeletal muscle strength and the development of walking disability. These observations are consistent with a growing number of studies showing that a diet with high intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of inflammation, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2007


  • Aging
  • Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • Cryptoxanthin
  • Inflammation
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Muscle
  • Sarcopenia
  • Zeaxanthin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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