Non-Profit Trusted Source of Non-Commercial Health Information
The Original Voice of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, Preventative, and Regenerative Medicine
logo logo
Vitamins

Beta Carotene (Pro-vitamin A)

12 years, 9 months ago

1031  0
Posted on Dec 30, 2005, 8 p.m. By Bill Freeman

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

Beta-carotene is a natural source of vitamin A. The majority of people in Western countries obtain sufficient vitamin A from their diet, however beta-carotene may be prescribed for people with certain conditions that increase the need for the vitamin. For example: cystic fibrosis, chronic illness, and intestinal malabsorption. Beta-carotene is found in yellow fruit, dark-green, yellow and leafy vegetables, carrots, yams, cantaloupe, yellow squash, spinach, apricots, spirulina, wheat grass, alfalfa, and barley grass. More than 400 carotenoids have been isolated from natural sources.

ROLE IN ANTI-AGING:

Beta-carotene is an important free-radical fighter for various forms of cancer as it protects against ultraviolet damage and enhances the immune system. It carries many of the same functions as vitamin A. The liver and the intestinal wall obtain useable vitamin A by converting beta-carotene. Research published in 2001 revealed that people who ate two-and-a-half servings of beta-carotene-rich vegetables a day were significantly less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who consumed less than one serving of beta-carotene-rich vegetables.

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS:

Beta-carotene is not an essential nutrient, therefore it is not possible to develop a true deficiency. However, alcohol consumption decreases beta-carotene in the liver, and people with hypothyroidism and diabetes may have trouble converting beta-carotene into vitamin A. Research has also found that elderly people with type 2 diabetes have significantly lower blood levels of carotenoids. Thus, such people may benefit from supplementary beta-carotene.

THERAPEUTIC DAILY AMOUNT:

20,000 to 50,000 I.U. No RDA has been established. Non-toxic. Many experts suggest that people should avoid synthetic beta-carotene and only supplement with natural betacarotene. Some research has linked synthetic beta-carotene with an increased risk of lung cancer among smokers, while other research has found that the natural form has antioxidant properties that the synthetic version lacks.

MAXIMUM SAFE LEVEL: Not established

SIDE EFFECTS/CONTRAINDICATIONS:

The effect of beta-carotene on pregnant women has not been studied. However, no problems with fertility or pregnancy have been reported in women taking up to 30 mg of beta-carotene a day. Beta-carotene may cause complications in patients with liver disease or kidney disease, and those taking cholestyramine or colestipol mineral oil, neomycin, and vitamin E. Therefore, such patients should consult a doctor before taking any supplements. Smokers are currently advised to avoid taking both natural and synthetic beta-carotene as two separate studies have shown that taking synthetic betacarotene may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

SOLUBILITY: Fat soluble

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

Beta-carotene is a natural source of vitamin A. The majority of people in Western countries obtain sufficient vitamin A from their diet, however beta-carotene may be prescribed for people with certain conditions that increase the need for the vitamin. For example: cystic fibrosis, chronic illness, and intestinal malabsorption. Beta-carotene is found in yellow fruit, dark-green, yellow and leafy vegetables, carrots, yams, cantaloupe, yellow squash, spinach, apricots, spirulina, wheat grass, alfalfa, and barley grass. More than 400 carotenoids have been isolated from natural sources.

ROLE IN ANTI-AGING:

Beta-carotene is an important free-radical fighter for various forms of cancer as it protects against ultraviolet damage and enhances the immune system. It carries many of the same functions as vitamin A. The liver and the intestinal wall obtain useable vitamin A by converting beta-carotene. Research published in 2001 revealed that people who ate two-and-a-half servings of beta-carotene-rich vegetables a day were significantly less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who consumed less than one serving of beta-carotene-rich vegetables.

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS:

Beta-carotene is not an essential nutrient, therefore it is not possible to develop a true deficiency. However, alcohol consumption decreases beta-carotene in the liver, and people with hypothyroidism and diabetes may have trouble converting beta-carotene into vitamin A. Research has also found that elderly people with type 2 diabetes have significantly lower blood levels of carotenoids. Thus, such people may benefit from supplementary beta-carotene.

THERAPEUTIC DAILY AMOUNT:

20,000 to 50,000 I.U. No RDA has been established. Non-toxic. Many experts suggest that people should avoid synthetic beta-carotene and only supplement with natural betacarotene. Some research has linked synthetic beta-carotene with an increased risk of lung cancer among smokers, while other research has found that the natural form has antioxidant properties that the synthetic version lacks.

MAXIMUM SAFE LEVEL: Not established

SIDE EFFECTS/CONTRAINDICATIONS:

The effect of beta-carotene on pregnant women has not been studied. However, no problems with fertility or pregnancy have been reported in women taking up to 30 mg of beta-carotene a day. Beta-carotene may cause complications in patients with liver disease or kidney disease, and those taking cholestyramine or colestipol mineral oil, neomycin, and vitamin E. Therefore, such patients should consult a doctor before taking any supplements. Smokers are currently advised to avoid taking both natural and synthetic beta-carotene as two separate studies have shown that taking synthetic betacarotene may increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

SOLUBILITY: Fat soluble

Subscribe to our Newsletter

WorldHealth Videos

WorldHealth Sponsors