What is it?
Beta-carotene is a group of yellow-orange-red pigments called carotenoids that is found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. It has anti-oxidant activity and is converted into Vitamin A. 6-8 mg of beta-carotene can be obtained by eating about 5 servings of fruits and vegetable daily.
People with inherited blood disease “Erythropoietic Protoporphyria” will benefit from eating beta-carotene to prevent sun photo-sensitivity in their skin. There are studies that prove that beta-carotene reduces breast/ovary cancer risk, treats Age-related Macular degeneration (eye disease), and prevents sunburn in people who are sun-sensitive, prevent deterioration of osteoarthritis, prevent bronchitis/asthma, treats tongue condition leukoplakia and improves strength in elderly.
Many believed that beta-carotene helps in conditions like diabetes, prevent stroke, prevents cataracts, heart diseases and Alzheimer. However more scientific research is required to ascertain if these proclaimed benefits are true.
Possible side effects
Beta-carotene is generally safe to take for people with specific medical conditions. Do not take it for normal general use unless clinically indicated. Avoid in high doses, it turns skin color yellow-orange.
There is insufficient evidence to prove if it is safe for lactating/pregnant women to consume it, hence it is best to avoid. People who has asbestos exposure and those who smoke should avoid taking it, as it may increase the risk of lung cancer.
Like other anti-oxidant vitamins, it should not be taken after angioplasty (heart procedure to unblock a vessel) as it may hinder the healing process.
1. Cholesterol medications: Beta-carotene will decrease the effectiveness of cholesterol lowering medications.
2. Niacin: Niacin increases the good cholesterol. However when taken with beta-carotene, it will decrease the good cholesterol in our body.
1. For Erythropoietic Protoporphyria: dosage is dependent on age.
2. For preventing sunburn in sun-sensitive people: beta-carotene 25 mg orally daily.
3. For treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD): beta-carotene 15 mg plus vitamin C 500 mg, zinc oxide 80 mg, and vitamin E 400 IU daily.
Please follow the instructions given by your doctor and if in doubt if you require this supplement please consult your doctor first. There is currently no guidelines on daily dose of beta-carotene supplement for people without any clinical indications.