Beta-Carotene Health & Wellness

Potential uses of beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene is an organic compound that gives color to plants and fruits. It is also used for food coloring, it has the E number E160a [1]. Beta-carotene is the most well-known provitamin A carotenoid (precursor to vitamin A), which means body turns beta-carotene into the antioxidant vitamin A (via beta-carotene 15,15′-monooxygenase) [2].

Beta-carotene uses

Beta-Carotene is being used as an oral sun protectant, and evidence indicates that carotenoids may protect human skin from light-induced lesions. [3] Biesalski et al. [4] have speculated that carotenoids contribute to protection against acute and chronic exposure to UV light. However, little is known about distribution and accumulation of beta-carotene in tissues.

Satoshi and colleagues [5] have reported that 30 mg of beta-carotene per day for 1 month may favorably affect exercise-induced oxidative DNA damage.

Beta-carotene is also used to decrease asthma symptoms caused by exercise, probably through in vivo antioxidative effect [6].

Is beta-carotene anticarcinogenic?

The risks of cancer and heart diseases are lowered by consumption of leafy vegetables rich in beta-carotene. Some earlier studies note that beta-carotene, may reduce the risk of chronic disease, such as coronary heart disease, certain cancers and cataract [7]. However, according to WebMd.com: “studies show beta-carotene supplements don’t lessen cancer or heart disease risks in healthy adults and may raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers and people exposed to asbestos.” [8]

Carrot and carrot juice - beta-carotene

The effectiveness of beta-carotene for treating different forms of cancer is still debated and has currently not been proven to prevent cancer in humans [9]. However, beta-carotene is used for breast cancer prevention although there are currently no known studies that support its use for lowering breast cancer risk [10].

Beta-carotene side effects

The most common side effect is harmless orange coloring of the skin due to deposition of the carotenoid in the outer layer of the epidermis (carotenodermia) [3].

References

  1. Milne, George W. A. “Gardner’s commercially important chemicals: synonyms, trade names, and properties.” New York: Wiley-Interscience. (2005).
  2. Susan D. Van Arnum (1998). “Vitamin A”. Vitamin A in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology (45). New York: John Wiley. pp. 99–107.
  3. Stahl, Wilhelm, et al. “Increased dermal carotenoid levels assessed by noninvasive reflection spectrophotometry correlate with serum levels in women ingesting Betatene.” The Journal of nutrition 128.5 (1998): 903-907.
  4. Biesalski, Hans Konrad, et al. “Effects of controlled exposure of sunlight on plasma and skin levels of β-carotene.” Free radical research 24.3 (1996): 215-224.
  5. Sumida, Satoshi, et al. “Effect of a single bout of exercise and β-carotene supplementation on the urinary excretion of 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine in humans.” Free radical research 27.6 (1997): 607-618.
  6. Neuman, Ittai, Hermona Nahum, and Ami Ben-Amotz. “Prevention of exercise-induced asthma by a natural isomer mixture of β-carotene.” Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 82.6 (1999): 549-553.
  7. Singh, Vishwa N. “A current perspective on nutrition and exercise.” The Journal of nutrition 122.3 Suppl (1992): 760.
  8. Do Vitamin Supplements Make Sense? Retrieved from WebMD.com at 29. April 2013
  9. Vitamin A, Retinoids, and Provitamin A Carotenoids”. American Cancer Society.
  10. “Beta-carotene intake and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.”. Retrieved from WebMD.com at 29. April 2012.

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