​Increased dietary exposure to carotenoids, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin, and β-carotene, may have a positive effect on bone health in both men and women.

This study determined whether consistent consumption of dietary carotenoids, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin, and β-carotene, increases or decreases bone mineral density in Korean adults. With the aid of a 24-hour dietary recall, researchers collected and examined data on the caroteinoid intake of 8,022 men and women aged 30 – 75 years recruited from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. The bone mineral density of all the participants in this study was also assessed.

Researchers discovered that adherence to a diet rich in lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-cryptoxanthin increased the bone mass of the hip bone in males and pre-menopausal women and regular intake of β-carotene improve the bone mineral density of the whole body in postmenopausal women. In addition, daily consumption of β-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin was found to significantly reduce the odds of having osteopenia at the lumbar spine alone and both at the lumbar spine and hip bone respectively in postmenopausal women. The findings of this study reveal that eating foods loaded with dietary carotenoids may help to improve bone strength in men, premenopausal and postmenopausal women.