What is Beta Carotene?
Beta carotene is a reddish-orange colored pigment that is naturally found in colorful fruits and vegetables, particularly carrots. The name comes from the Greek word "beta" and the Latin word "carota," which means carrot. The pigment in beta carotene is what gives certain fruits and veggies such rich, vibrant colors. The human body converts it into vitamin A or retinol since beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin A. It's an essential nutrient to support healthy skin and mucous membranes and to support the immune system and vision. It's important to note that too much vitamin A is toxic so speak with your doctor before beginning a beta carotene supplement.
Beta Carotene Benefits
Beta carotene is an antioxidant that can help to protect the body from cell-damaging free radicals. Some research shows that consuming fruits and vegetables rich in beta carotene may lower your risk of developing cancer or heart disease. Other studies show that it may also help to slow down cognitive decline in those who take it on a long-term basis. Another possible benefit is that getting enough beta carotene may help to support healthy lung function and compensate for some of the damage to the lungs that are caused by exposure to free radicals.
Beta Carotene Vitamin
If you do not get adequate levels of beta carotene from your diet, it may also be purchased as a supplement. When taking this vitamin, make sure that you talk with your doctor about possible interactions if you currently take other prescription medications, such as statins for high cholesterol. You can find this vitamin in a water or oil-based form. Always take this product as directed on the manufacturer's packaging.