Beta Carotene – Best Nutrition Products

Beta Carotene

DESCRIPTION

Beta carotene is found in the yellow or orange pigment present in many fruits and vegetables. The human body can readily convert beta carotene into vitamin A.

In 1830, the yellow pigment in carrots was isolated and named carotene, however, it was not until 1919 that the connection between carotene and vitamin A was known. It is now known that people with high levels of beta carotene in their diets have less chance of developing certain types of cancers than those with a lower intake of the nutrient. Many studies now show that low intakes of beta carotene are associated with the development of cancer and heart disease. With this in mind, nutrition experts underline the importance of taking five or more good portions of fruits and vegetables daily.

Beta carotene can help to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation-induced damage and may even protect against skin cancer in the long term. Beta carotene acts as an antioxidant, trapping and neutralizing single oxygen molecules and other free radicals, which can damage the body’s cellular membranes, lipids, proteins and vitamins. In addition, beta carotene enhances the immune system by stimulating the activity of interferon.

Cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, cataracts, and many other chronic degenerative diseases have been linked to free radical damage. Beta carotene is recognized as a free radical quencher. Numerous epidemiological studies and clinical trials have shown that people who consume high quantities of beta carotene have a lowered incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases. This is in addition to all the functions of vitamin A, to which beta carotene is a precursor.

Those WHO MAY NEED TO SUPPLEMENT

•     diet is low in carotene-providing fruits and vegetables

•     prolonged exposure to bright sunlight

•     genetic predisposition or environmental exposure requiring increased protection from free radical damage

REQUIRED NUTRITIONAL INTAKE

As dietary beta carotene contributes to total vitamin A intake, there is not a separate requirement for beta carotene.

Quantities of beta carotene should not be confused with quantities of vitamin A activity. (Only quantities of vitamin A have scientific meaning.) The amount of beta carotene divided by three gives the approximate effective vitamin A activity.  So, a 15 mg beta carotene supplement will provide approximately 5 mg of vitamin A.

BEST FOOD SOURCES

Food                           Beta Carotene (mcg/100g)

carrots (old)………………………………………….. 12,000

spinach………………………………………………….   6,000

sweet potato………………………………………….   4,000

apricots, dried ………………………………………   3,600

watercress……………………………………………..   3,000

mango……………………………………………………   1,200

tomatoes………………………………………………..      600

cabbage………………………………………………….      300

peas, frozen……………………………………………      300

 

SAFETY

Beta carotene is a very safe way of getting adequate amounts of vitamin A. At very high levels of beta carotene intake, the body’s beta carotene to vitamin A conversion process decreases significantly.

The only known side effect of excess beta carotene intake is “carotenemia,” a harmless, fully reversible condition in which the skin turns an orange color.

INTERACTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS

Beta carotene cannot be properly converted into vitamin A by diabetics or those with hypothyroidism or severe liver malfunction.

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