Beta-Carotene is a red-orange pigment that belongs to the carotenoid family, and is responsible for the rich colour of carrots and other colorful vegetables. It is a naturallyoccurring pigment. When it is ingested, it either gets converted into vitamin A and is utilized in various functions or acts as an antioxidant and protects the body cells from the damaging effect of free radicals.
Beta-Carotene benefits the body by enhancing the functioning of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for good immune system, eye and skin health. Good thing is the body converts betacarotene into vitamin A as per its requirement, because excess vitamin A is harmful for the body. So betacarotene is considered a safe way to get vitamin A.
Beta-Carotene also acts as an antioxidant and fights against free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that have adverse effects on the human body. The oxidative damage caused by free radicals gradually lead to chronic illnesses. Antioxidants neutralise these free radicals and reduce their effects. Consuming beta carotene supplements also boost the functioning of immune system.
The conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A takes place in the walls of small intestine. The vitamin A thus formed is stored in the liver. If you consume more betacarotene than the body’s requirement of vitamin A, then only the necessary amount gets converted and the rest gets stored.
However, consuming beta-carotene in excess can make your skin yellowish.
Health Benefits of Beta-Carotene
Studies have shown that people who consume good amount of beta-carotene are less prone to the effects of sun rays. People who are sensitive to sunlight and those who suffer from liver problems are advised to consume a diet rich in beta-carotene. The dose of this antioxidant is slowly administered over a period of few weeks to reduce the effects of sunlight on the patient.
Beta-Carotene is also beneficial for those who suffer from metabolic syndrome, which increases the chances of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It stimulates the metabolic functions and increases the metabolism of fats in the body. Research showed that the middle-aged and older men who consumed betacarotene in sufficient amount had less body fat.
Oral leukoplakia causes white lesions in the mouth and on the tongue. It is caused due to excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. One research suggested that the patients of oral leukoplakia who consumed beta-carotene in the suggested amount had lesser symptoms than those who did not consume betacarotene.
Scleroderma is a connective tissue skin disease that causes hardening of the skin. People suffering from this disease have low level of beta-carotene in their blood. Due to this scientists have researched on the use of beta-carotene in this disease.
This strong antioxidant is available in the market in the form of beta-carotene softgels, capsules, tablets, etc. Since it is fat soluble, you should consume it along with at least 3 g of fats in your diet to ensure its proper absorption into the blood. However, excess beta-carotene has adverse effects on the body. So it is always advised to consult a doctor first. The doctor first checks the beta-carotene level in your body and then sets the dose as per the use of betacarotene that you want to target.