Consuming nutrient-rich foods is really very essential to stay healthy and avoid diseases. These nutrients help in maintaining the smooth functioning of the body.
One of these names also comes from beta-carotene. Its too high or too less quantity in the body can cause many physical health problems. Come, let us know in this article what is the role of beta-carotene in the body.
What are the symptoms of beta carotene deficiency and what are the side-effects of beta carotene. Also, the sources of beta carotene are also mentioned in the article. For complete details read the article till the end.
WHAT IS BETA-CAROTENE?
Beta-carotene is a group of red, orange and yellow pigments, called carotenoids. Beta-carotene is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In addition, it can also be made in the laboratory. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids can provide about 50 percent of vitamin A.
Its use can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, cataracts, heart disease and many other health problems. At the same time, eating five servings of fruits and vegetables daily can provide 6 to 8 milligrams of beta-carotene. It is also a type of pro vitamin A.
BETA-CAROTENE DEFICIENCY CAUSES:
What are the causes of beta-carotene deficiency?
Beta-carotene can be obtained from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but certain conditions can cause the body to lack it. Here, we are telling what can cause beta-carotene deficiency:
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can reduce the levels of beta-carotene in the body.
- Olestra (fat substitute) can reduce beta-carotene in the body by up to 27 percent.
- Low intake of foods containing beta carotene.
BETA-CAROTENE DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS:
What are the symptoms of beta-carotene deficiency?
As we have mentioned above, beta carotene is a type of vitamin A. Therefore, below we are telling the symptoms of beta-carotene deficiency on the basis of symptoms of vitamin A deficiency:
- Loss of appetite
- Hair fall
- Skin dryness
- Eye dryness and swelling
- Getting infected repeatedly
- Appearance of red rash on the skin
- Feeling more irritable
- Night blindness, it can be difficult to see at night
- Problems related to the development of teeth and bones
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BETA-CAROTENE:
What are the health benefits of beta-carotene?
Beta-carotene can be beneficial for your health in many ways, including:
1. Rich in Antioxidants:
Antioxidants can work protect the body from free-radicals, which can cause oxidative stress. At the same time, oxidative stress can increase the risk of cancer as well as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
At the same time, a research found that beta-carotene has antioxidant properties, which can work protect the body from free radicals.
2. Helps Prevent Cancer:
Beta-carotene may be beneficial in preventing cancer. According to a research done on animals, beta-carotene has cancer prevention effect.
For this reason, it can be helpful in preventing the growth of cancer. Research further clearly mentions that it can act as a chemo-preventive agent.
At the same time, according to an another research, high amounts of beta-carotene supplementation can cause lung cancer in the people who smoke.
Keep in mind that beta-carotene supplements are not a fully cure for cancer. If someone is suffering from cancer, then it is necessary to get medical treatment.
3. For Lung Health:
Along with improving lung functioning, beta-carotene has also been considered beneficial in keeping them healthy.
According to a research on this topic, beta-carotene can play a vital role in lung functioning. Actually, the antioxidants present in beta-carotene can protect the lungs from free-radicals.
At the same time, a limited amount of beta-carotene supplementation can protect the lungs from damage caused by cigarette smoke.
4. Beta-Carotene for Brain Health:
A research related to the topic mentions that oxidative stress can severely affect cognitive function (the brain’s ability to think, understand, remember and make decisions) and motor function (associated with the body movement), for which the brain can be affected. In addition, oxidative stress can also lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Here, antioxidants are needed and in such as situation beta-carotene can be beneficial. Its antioxidant effect may help with cognitive function by reducing oxidative stress and may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease to some extent.
5. For Eye Health:
Beta-carotene may be beneficial for keeping the eyes healthy and preventing eye problems. According to a scientific research, beta-carotene has been shown to be beneficial in age-related eye diseases, including cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and AMD, which is age-related macular degeneration.
6. Beta-Carotene for Heart Health:
According to a research, free-radicals can cause atherosclerosis (deposition of fat, cholesterol and other substances on the arteries or in the arteries walls), which can increase the risk of heart disease.
At the same time, the use of antioxidant vitamins such as beta-carotene may work to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis by reducing the effects of free-radicals.
At the same time, research further mentions that the use of beta-carotene can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Research has confirmed that for the prevention of coronary heart disease, antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be consumed.
According to an another scientific study, beta-carotene may help reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke in the people who smoke.
Ischemic heart disease is a condition of chest pain or discomfort that occurs when a part of the heart does not receive enough blood.
7. Beta-Carotene for Skin Health:
The benefits of beta-carotene have also been seen to keep the skin healthy. In fact, according to a research on this topic, beta-carotene may act as a photoprotector, which may help prevent erythema (reddish on the skin) caused by the harmful UV rays of the sun.
It can also protect the skin from sun burn. In addition, its photoprotective effect may help protect against loose skin and wrinkles caused by UV rays.
8. For Diabetes:
An increased level of glucose in the blood can cause the problem of diabetes. Beta-carotene has been shown to have a positive effect in reducing this problem to some extent.
Actually, a research has confirmed that beta-carotene can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes. The antioxidant properties present in beta-carotene may be behind this.
9. Beta-Carotene for Hair Health:
Alopecia areata is a hair loss problem that can be caused by the negative effects of the immune system on the hair follicles. Beta-carotene can show positive effect in this problem.
Indeed, research has found that the antioxidant effect found in beta-carotene may be helpful in reducing the problem of alopecia areata. However, more research is needed on this topic.
In addition, another research found that the photoprotective effect found in beta-carotene may be helpful in reducing hair damage caused by the harmful rays of the sun.
BEST FOOD SOURCE OF BETA-CAROTENE:
What are the best sources of beta-carotene?
Beta-carotene can be obtained naturally from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some of the beta-carotene rich sources are:
- Romaine Lettuce
- Red Bell Peppers
- Podded Peas
- Spinach (cooked and raw)
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash, cooked
- Carrots (raw and cooked)
BETA-CAROTENE DOSAGE (RECOMMENEDED DAILY INTAKE):
The benefits of beta-carotene are many, but it should also be consumed in limited quantities. Here we are telling about its consumption quantity.
According to the Germany Nutrition Society, up to 2 grams of beta-carotene can be taken as a supplement daily.
At the same time, according to the National Cancer Institute (USA), 5-6 mg of beta-carotene can be consumed daily.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The amount of beta carotene can vary by the age and health of the person. Therefore, before consuming it, make sure to consult your doctor about its correct dosage.
PRECAUTIONS WHILE TAKING BETA-CAROTENE:
There are a few things to keep in mind when using beta-carotene; including:
- Consult a doctor before taking beta-carotene as a supplement.
- Do not take beta-carotene in the treatment of any disease without the advice of a doctor.
- It should not be consumed in excessive amounts, ask your doctor about its right quantity.
- Smokers should not consume its supplement.
- An overdose of beta-carotene should not be taken during pregnancy and breast-feeding. During this also seek medical advice.
- Do not use beta-carotene and other antioxidant vitamins before or after angioplasty.
BETA-CAROTENE SIDE EFFECTS:
Beta carotene is an essential nutrient for health and can have huge health benefits if consumed in the right amounts. At the same time, in some cases, there may be some potential side-effects of beta-carotene as mentioned below:
- If excessive amounts of beta-carotene are consumed for a long time (up to 12 years), it may increase the risk of death.
- Taking beta-carotene supplements in high amounts may increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.
- Beta-carotene can turn the skin yellow or orange when taken in excess.
- Beta-carotene supplements may increase the risk of colon, lung or prostate cancer in people who smoke.
After all the information related to beta-carotene, now you must come to know the health benefits of beta-carotene. Foods containing beta-carotene mentioned in the article can be consumed to maintain its adequate amount in the body. At the same time, keep in mind the symptoms of beta-carotene deficiency. Apart from this, follow the precautions mentioned to avoid the side-effects of beta-carotene. Hope this article proves helpful to you.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):
Q. What is beta carotene good for?
A. Beta-carotene can play a vital role in eye health, skin and hair health. In addition, it is also good for brain, heart and lungs health.
Q. How does beta carotene work in the body?
A. The use of beta-carotene may be beneficial in reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and cataracts, as well as many other problems that we have discussed above.
Q. Is beta-carotene vitamin A?
A. YES! Beta-carotene is a pro-vitamin A carotenoid.
Q. When should I take beta-carotene?
A. Beta-carotene supplementation can be used on the medical advice when symptoms of beta-carotene deficiency are observed.
Q. Can beta-carotene help me lose weight?
A. YES, beta-carotene may be helpful in reducing obesity by controlling adipose tissue.
Q. Is it safe to take beta-carotene daily?
A. Yes, foods containing beta-carotene can be consumed in limited quantities. At the same time, take its supplement only on medical advice.
Q. Is beta-carotene good for the skin?
A. Yes, beta-carotene has photo-protective effects, which can protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun as well as prevent wrinkles.
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