Beta Carotene is a red-orange colored organic compound. It is found in plants and fruits. BetaCarotene contributes to the orange color of many different fruits and vegetables.
Vietnamese Gac and crude palm oil are the richest sources of Beta Carotene. Other sources of Beta Carotene are fruits like mangoes, cantaloupes and papayas. Root vegetables like carrot and yams, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and sweet potato leaves are rich sources too. Green peppers, broccoli, romaine lettuce, apricots are the other sources.
Beta carotenehas several health benefits and is available as a nutritional supplement.
Beta Carotene, a carotenoid is a pro-vitamin. This means that it is easily converted to vitamin A or retinol by the human body. Beta Carotene converts itself easily to vitamin A in the intestines and is then stored in the liver.
The entire body needs vitamin A to function optimally. Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness, impact eyes, teeth, hair and skin adversely. The reproductive, digestive and immune system needs Vitamin A to function well. Vitamin A is also needed in the development of lymphocytes that fight infection.
Who can benefit from taking Beta Carotene
Beta Carotene is an anti-oxidant and can help improve immunity. Beta Carotene can prevent AMD of the eyes. It can also prevent osteoarthritis from getting worse. Beta carotene also reduces the risk of breast cancer in women, prevents asthmatic attacks triggered by exercise and reduces the risk of pregnancy-related death.
Beta Carotene is not toxic when consumed in large quantities because the body will convert it into vitamin A only what required.
Too much beta-carotene can cause side effects like diarrhea and a yellow or orange cast to the skin called carotenodermia. Also heavy consumption of Beta Carotene may result in saturating the liver's storage capacity for fat-soluble vitamins, so that reserves of other fat-soluble vitamins, e.g. vitamin D and vitamin A, are not created.
Though there is no specific RDA of Beta Carotene, it is advisable to consume 15-50 mg on a daily basis.