Many public health campaigns encourage increased fibre consumption, but short-term studies suggest that various components of dietary fibre inhibit the absorption of certain micronutrients including carotenoids. These do not take into account long-term adaptation to nutrient intake levels. We aimed to investigate the effect of non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) fibre on plasma micronutrient concentrations in a large free-living population consuming their usual diet.
Prospective cohort study. Semi-weighed 4-day food diaries were analysed for micronutrient and NSP fibre intakes. Blood samples were taken and analysed for carotenoids, vitamin A, vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin C and trace metals.
Participants in a large national cohort study who lived within 30 miles of Leeds.
Two hundred and eighty-three middle-aged women.
The association between NSP intake and plasma nutrient concentrations was assessed taking into account nutrient intakes and other dietary and lifestyle factors. Higher levels of NSP were not associated with lower plasma concentrations of the micronutrients measured, even allowing for the higher nutrient levels generally found in high-fibre foods.
Amongst middle-aged women we have shown that current guidelines for increasing the population's NSP consumption can be safely applied. Such guidelines are unlikely to reduce serum micronutrient concentrations, although other, more vulnerable population groups may benefit from further investigation.
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