Carotene - serum

Last updated: Thursday, 08, April, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

10 mL blood in plain tube. Protect specimen from light by covering tube with foil.

Method

Spectrophotometry, HPLC.

Reference Interval

1-3 µmol/L.

Application

Suspected fat malabsorption. Faecal fat excretion provides a more reliable assessment.

Identification of carotenaemia as the cause of yellow skin.

Interpretation

Low levels of fat soluble carotenes are found with malabsorption of fat. A more reliable assessment is to measure vitamin A or faecal fat excretion. Low levels are sometimes used as an index of malnutrition.

High levels of carotene are found with excessive intake, in hypothyroidism, and in certain types of hyperlipidaemia.

If beta carotene is measured the reference interval is less than for total carotene.

Reference

Romano TJ and Dobbins JW. Gastroenterol Clin North Am 1989; 18(3): 467-483.