Why do people take beta-carotene?
Beta-carotene has become popular in part because it’s an antioxidant — a substance that may protect cells from damage. A number of studies show that people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables that are rich in beta-carotene and other vitamins and minerals have a lower risk of some cancers and heart disease. However, so far studies have not found that beta-carotene supplements have the same health benefits as foods.
Beta-carotene supplements may help people with specific health problems. Supplements might be used in someone with a clear vitamin A deficiency. They also might help those with the genetic condition erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP). Both conditions are rare.
How much beta-carotene is recommended daily?
There is recommendations for vitamin A for daily allowance, however, beta carotene does not have specific daily allowance limits.
Studies range quite a bit for dosing between 15-180 milligrams a day.
Can you get beta-carotene from a whole food diet?
The American Heart Association suggests that you get beta-carotene (and other antioxidants) from food rather than supplements. Good food sources of beta-carotene include:
Fresh is best to acquire beta-carotene from food. Also, research has shown that oils such as olive and oil and light cooking such as steaming can increase beta-carotene absorption from food.
What are the risks of taking beta-carotene?
- Side effects. Very few side effects. One of the most notable is actually turning your skin orange – usually with too much carrot juice! While this might be a scary or even funny side effect, it is actually temporary and usually harmless.
- Risks. Avoid if you have prior health issues and as always consult with your doctor before beginning any supplementation. Extra precaution should be noted for people with diabetes and lung issues. Given the lack of evidence about their safety, children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should only take beta-carotene supplements.
- Interactions. Beta Carotene might interact with cholesterol medication, but check with your docotor.
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