February 2013

Carotenoids May Lower ALS Risk

According to a recent study, carotenoids may reduce the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurological disorder affecting the ability to produce and control movement.

Carotenoids are highly pigmented (red, orange, yellow) compounds naturally present in many fruits, grains, oils and vegetables (green plants, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, apricots and green peppers).

The recent study used data from five previous studies: the National Institutes of Health-Association of American Retired Persons Diet and Health Study, the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, the Multiethnic Cohort, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study.

The five cohorts included a total of 1,100,910 participants and a total of 1,153 deaths from ALS. Participants were divided into different groups depending on how much of certain nutrients they consumed, such as vitamin C, lycopene, lutein and beta-cryptoxanthin.

Data analysis showed that total carotenoid intake was significantly linked to a lower risk of ALS. More specifically, individuals who consumed the most β-carotene or lutein had a reduced likelihood of developing ALS, compared to individuals who consumed the least β-carotene or lutein. The researchers found no association between intake of lycopene, β-cryptoxanthin, or vitamin C intake with ALS.

For more information on integrative therapies for ALS, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness Database.


  1. Fitzgerald KC, O'Reilly EJ, Fondell E. Intakes of vitamin C and carotenoids and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Pooled results from 5 cohort studies. Ann Neurol. 2012 Nov 26.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2024 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.