Beta carotene is referred to as a provitamin A carotenoid, meaning that the body can convert it into vitamin A. Beta carotene serves as an antioxidant, and can also be helpful in protecting the skin against UV radiation from sunlight by contributing to the process of repairing the damage cause by exposure.
In this article you can find:
- What is beta carotene?
- What are the benefits of beta carotene?
- Are there any potential risks to supplementing with beta carotene?
What is beta carotene?
Beta carotene is a red-orange plant pigment found in a variety of fruits and vegetables including carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cantaloupe, and apricots. Beta carotene can also be found in a range of herbs and spices such as paprika, cayenne, and chili.
Beta carotene is a provitamin A carotenoid, as such, your body can convert it into vitamin A. Vitamin A plays an important role in many aspects of human health, including the maintenance of normal skin, vision, immune system, and mucous membranes.
What are the benefits of beta carotene?
- Functions as an antioxidant: Antioxidants are compounds that help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells) by neutralizing the free radicals. When free radicals outnumber antioxidants, it can lead to a state known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a known contributor to the development of various chronic diseases including certain cancers, heart disease, and cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Protection against UV radiation: Just like Vitamin A, in addition to providing sustenance and its nutritive value, beta carotene can be helpful in protecting the skin against UV radiation from sunlight by contributing to the process of repairing the damage caused by exposure (it is important to note that the sun protection that dietary beta carotene provides is much lower than using topical sun cream, thus it should not be used as a placement). However, the body does not absorb and store beta carotene as efficiently as Vitamin A as the conversion rate to Vitamin A is related to the body’s needs, (the higher the need, the higher the conversion rate). Thus, beta carotene does not raise the same toxicity concerns as taking large amounts of Vitamin A, making it more suitable for vulnerable groups including pregnant women.
- Boosts eye health: Studies suggest that diets rich in carotenoids such as beta carotene may improve eye health and reduce the risk of various disease that effects the eyes, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Are there any potential risks to supplementing with beta carotene?
Beta carotene supplementation is not associated with any serious negative effects. Consuming too much beta carotene over time can result in a harmless condition called carotenodermia, a condition where the skin turns a yellow-orange color. However, it is suggested that smokers avoid beta carotene supplements. Research has distinguished a link between high supplement doses of beta carotene and an increased risk of lung cancer in individuals who smoke. Also, very high doses of any antioxidant can interfere with the absorption of other important nutrients and could possibly affect the body’s natural defense system.
Sona Beta Carotene contains 15mg of Beta Carotene per capsule.
- (2021). Retrieved 13 July 2021, fromhttps://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants-in-depth.
- Denton, D., Abraham, R., Al-Assaf, A., Rutjes, A., Chong, L., & Anderson, J. et al. (2015). Vitamin and mineral supplementation for maintaining cognitive function in cognitively healthy people in mid life. Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews. doi: 10.1002/14651858.cd011904.
- Griffiths, K., Aggarwal, B., Singh, R., Buttar, H., Wilson, D., & De Meester, F. (2016). Food Antioxidants and Their Anti-Inflammatory Properties: A Potential Role in Cardiovascular Diseases and Cancer Prevention. Diseases, 4(4), 28. doi: 10.3390/diseases4030028.
- Stahl, W., & Sies, H. (2012). β-Carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, 96(5), 1179S-1184S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.034819.
- Tan, B., Norhaizan, M., Liew, W., & Sulaiman Rahman, H. (2018). Antioxidant and Oxidative Stress: A Mutual Interplay in Age-Related Diseases. Frontiers In Pharmacology, 9. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.01162.
- Wu, J., Cho, E., Willett, W., Sastry, S., & Schaumberg, D. (2015). Intakes of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Other Carotenoids and Age-Related Macular Degeneration During 2 Decades of Prospective Follow-up. JAMA Ophthalmology, 133(12), 1415. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.3590.