Beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene, or Carotene, has demonstrated diverse qualities, giving the carotenoid limited antioxidant activity, immunomodulatory acitvity, anticarcinogenic activity and antiatherogenic activity. Beta-Carotene belongs to a family of carotenoids characterized by yellow, orange, red, or green pigments. Beta-Carotene in not always consistently absorbed into the body, although it is formed from numerous isomers. Beta-Carotene has the ability to hunt down peroxyl radicals as well as to hinder lipid perioxidation and reduce free radical damage to DNA. Beta-Carotene is a precursor to retinol but also has independent immunonodulatory effects on the body such as to increase monocytes and adhesion molecules. Beta-Carotene is largely involved in the metabolization and production of vitamin A. Beta-Carotene can be found is form syntheticalls or found in algae, fungi, and palm oil. The carotenoid can also be found, in vitamin A form, in fruits, grains, oils, and vegetables.

Beta-Carotene when used in combination with colchicine, cholestyramine, colestipol, mineral oil, orlistat, neomycin, and proton pump inhibitors decrease the effectiveness of one another. The drugs reduce the absorption of beta-carotene.The use of niacin, pectin, and lutein in conjunction with beta-carotene will also decrease the absorption and usage of beta-carotene by the body.

Beta-Carotene, when taken in large amounts, may cause yellow or orange skin pigmentation, which is called carotenoderma. This effect is easily reversed by discontinuing the usage of beta-carotene. It is not recommended that smokers use beta-carotene, studies have shown that this may increase their risk of lung cancer.

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