Beta-carotene is one of a group of red, orange, and yellow pigments called carotenoids. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids provide approximately 50% of the vitamin A needed in the American diet. Beta-carotene can be found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It can also be made in a laboratory.
Beta-carotene is used for an inherited disorder marked by sensitivity to light (erythropoietic protoporphyria or EPP). It is also used to prevent certain cancers, heart disease, cataracts, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
There are many global health authorities that recommend getting beta-carotene and other antioxidants from food instead of supplements. Eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily provides 6-8 mg of beta-carotene.
Is a Form of:
Erythropoietic protoporphyria or EPP
Also Known As:
A-Beta-Carotene, A-Bêta-Carotène, Beta Carotene, Bêta-Carotène
How Does It Work?
Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, an essential nutrient. It has antioxidant activity, which helps to protect cells from damage.
- An inherited disorder marked by sensitivity to light (erythropoietic protoporphyria or EPP)." Taking beta-carotene by mouth can reduce sensitivity to the sun in people with erythropoietic protoporphyria.
- An eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or AMD). Taking beta-carotene by mouth along with vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc seems to help prevent vision loss and worsening of AMD in people with more severe AMD. Taking this combination might reduce the progression of AMD to a more advanced state in people at low risk, but results are conflicting. Taking beta-carotene plus antioxidants but without zinc does not seem to improve advanced AMD. There is conflicting evidence about whether taking beta-carotene as part of the diet helps reduce the risk of developing AMD.
- Breast cancer. Eating more beta-carotene in the diet is linked to a lower risk of breast cancer in high risk, pre-menopausal women. This includes women with a family history of breast cancer and those who consume a lot of alcohol. Also, in women that already have breast cancer, eating more beta-carotene in the diet is linked to an increased chance of survival.
- Complications after childbirth. Taking beta-carotene by mouth before, during, and after pregnancy might decrease the risk of diarrhea and fever after childbirth. It also seems to reduce the risk of pregnancy-related death in underfed women.
- Sunburn. Taking beta-carotene by mouth may decrease sunburn in people sensitive to the sun. However, taking beta-carotene is unlikely to have much effect on sunburn risk in most people. Also, beta-carotene does not appear to reduce the risk of skin cancer or other skin disorders associated with sun exposure.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For an inherited disorder marked by sensitivity to light (erythropoietic protoporphyria or EPP): 180 mg of beta-carotene per day has been used. If this dose is not effective, the dose can be increased to 300 mg per day.
- For preventing sunburn: A specific product (Betatene by Betatene Ltd or Cognis Australia Pty. Ltd) containing 24-25 mg of beta-carotene along with other carotenoids has been used for 12 weeks.
- For an eye disease that leads to vision loss in older adults (age-related macular degeneration or AMD): 15 mg of beta-carotene plus 500 mg of vitamin C, and 400 IU of vitamin E, with or without 80 mg of zinc oxide, has been used daily.
- For preventing complications after childbirth: 42 mg of beta-carotene weekly
- For an inherited disorder marked by sensitivity to light (erythropoietic protoporphyria or EPP): Dosage is based on age. For age 1 to 4, the daily dose is 60-90 mg; age 5 to 8 years, 90-120 mg; age 9 to 12 years, 120-150 mg; age 13 to 16 years, 150-180 mg; and age 16 and older, 180 mg. If people still remain too sensitive to the sun using these doses, beta-carotene can be increased by 30-60 mg per day for children under 16 years old, and up to a total of 300 mg per day for people older than age 16.
The recommended daily intake of beta-carotene has not been set because there hasn't been enough research.
Beta-carotene supplements are available in two forms. One is water-based, and the other is oil-based. Studies show that the water-based version seems to be absorbed better.
Beta-Carotene Supplements Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to take beta carotene supplements?
However, beta-carotene supplements are not recommended for general use. High doses of beta-carotene can turn skin yellow or orange. There is growing concern that taking high doses of antioxidant supplements such as beta-carotene might do more harm than good.
What is beta carotene vitamin good for?
The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. We need vitamin A for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision. Vitamin A can be sourced from the food we eat, through beta carotene, for example, or in supplement form.
How much beta carotene should you take a day?
Adults and teenagers—75 to 180 mg of beta-carotene (the equivalent of 125,000 to 300,000 Units of vitamin A activity) a day. Children—30 to 150 mg of beta-carotene (the equivalent of 50,000 to 250,000 Units of vitamin A activity) a day.
Is 25000 IU of beta carotene safe?
While there is a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin A, there is no RDA for beta-carotene specifically. Studies have used dosages ranging between 15 and 180 milligrams a day. There is no set tolerable upper intake level (UL) for beta-carotene. However, high doses or long-term use may be dangerous.
Does beta carotene make your skin darker?
That's because they contain beta-carotene, a pigment also used as a food coloring agent. If you consume enough beta-carotene it turns you a very unpleasant shade of yellow-orange. But if you eat just the right amount, it simply tints your skin a bit.
Is Turmeric high in beta carotene?
The turmeric plant (Curcuma longa) is an herb closely related to ginger. Turmeric contains more than 300 naturally occurring components including beta-carotene, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium, flavonoids, fiber, iron, niacin, potassium, zinc and other nutrients.
Should I take beta carotene or vitamin A?
The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. The advantage of dietary beta carotene is that the body only converts as much as it needs. Excess vitamin A is toxic. Toxic vitamin A levels can occur if you consume too many supplements.
Does beta carotene help hair growth?
Sweet Potatoes: These are loaded with beta carotene, the precursor for vitamin A that not only promotes a healthy scalp but promotes hair growth. When topically applied to the hair and scalp, they have the added ability to stimulate collagen and elastin production.
How much beta carotene is toxic?
This explains why high doses of beta-carotene have never been found to cause vitamin A toxicity. High doses of beta-carotene (up to 180 mg/day) have been used without toxic side effects (1).
Can beta carotene change skin color?
It's long been known that eating a lot of carrots or other foods rich in carotenoids can turn skin orange. The color shift in skin correlated to the wavelengths for two naturally occurring food pigments: beta-carotene, the pigment that makes carrots orange, and lycopene, which gives tomatoes their vibrant hues.
What are the side effects of beta carotene?
What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Beta-Carotene?
- discoloration of the skin.
- joint pain.
- yellowing of the skin.
What's the difference between beta carotene and vitamin A?
The human body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol) – beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. Vitamin A can be sourced from the food we eat, through beta carotene, for example, or in supplement form. The advantage of dietary beta carotene is that the body only converts as much as it needs.
Which food would be the best source of beta carotene?
Good food sources of beta-carotene include:
- Sweet potatoes.
- Winter squash.
- Spinachand kale.
- Fruits like cantaloupeand apricots.
Is 10000 IU of beta carotene too much?
About 8% of the beta-carotene in the diet is converted to vitamin A in the body. How much vitamin A is enough? Until 2001, the dietary reference intake for adult men was 5,000 international units (IU) a day, or 1,500 micrograms (mcg). Levels of up to 10,000 IU (3,000 mcg) have been considered safe.
Does beta carotene make your skin glow?
Carrots: Carrots are a powerhouse for glowing skin due to a large amount of beta carotene that helps prevent the degeneration of cells, slows aging and makes your skin glow. The vitamin A found in carrot juice also helps keep body tissue, eyes, bones and teeth healthy.
Is beta carotene good for skin?
Promoting good skin health
Beta carotene may also reduce the effect of phototoxic drugs. Other research has shown that it may prevent skin damage and contribute to maintenance of skin health and appearance. This is due to its antioxidant properties.
How much beta carotene is too much?
There is no Recommended Daily Allowance of beta-carotene. Some doctors may prescribe between 10,000 IU per day up to 83,000 IU. Try to get most of your daily dose from the foods you eat.
Can you take beta carotene and vitamin A?
Some evidence suggests that taking beta-carotene does not decrease risk of gastric cancer. Also, taking beta-carotene in combination with vitamins A, C, and/or E does not seem to reduce the risk of stomach cancer.
Does beta carotene converted to retinol?
β-Carotene is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Two molecules of vitamin A are formed from on molecule of beta carotene. Oxidation: If you compare the two molecules, it is clear that vitamin A (retinol) is very closely related to half of the beta-carotene molecule.
How much beta carotene is in a carrot?
For example, according to nutrient data provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, in about 3.5 ounces of raw carrots you'll get 8.285 mg of beta carotene. Cooked carrots provide a slightly higher concentration amount at 8.332 mg per 3.5-ounce serving due to the water loss.