Beta-carotene Benefits & Negatives, High & Low Levels

Beta-carotene Benefits & Negatives, High & Low Levels

Beta-carotene is a natural antioxidant which could also be converted into vitamin A in the human body. It’s multiple beneficial consequences — it protects eye, brain, and skin health. It also helps prevent metabolic syndrome and diabetes. But, supplementing with beta-carotene might increase the chance of cancer and heart disease in smokers and people who drink alcohol. Continue reading to learn what it means to get high or very low beta-carotene amounts and how to increase or reduce them.

What is Beta-carotene?

Beta-carotene is a plant-derived pigment (carotenoid). It is a source of vitamin A and an important antioxidant.

It’s found in many plant products, such as green leafy and yellow-colored veggies, and orange-colored berry.

Beta-carotene leads about 30 — 35 percent of their dietary vitamin A intake In western countries, but in developing nations, it represents the most abundant, and in some cases, the sole source of vitamin A.

Beta-carotene in Foods

Beta-Carotene Health Benefits | Happy Life Style

Beta-carotene is located in:

  • Fruits (apricots, peaches, persimmons, melons, citrus, berries, etc..)
  • Green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, parsley, collard greens)
  • Orange tuber vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes)
  • Animal cells and goods (salmon, egg yolk, butterfat)

Studies suggest that the absorption of beta-carotene from plant resources ranges from 5% to 65% in humans. This depends on many different factors, such as the fiber and fat content of the food. Fat has a positive, whilst fiber has a negative impact on beta-carotene bioavailability.

Steaming increases the accessibility of beta-carotene, but prolonged boiling has a negative effect.

Beta-carotene Nutritional Supplements

Beta-carotene May also be obtained from supplements. However, whenever possible, you should aim to get your beta-carotene out of your diet in foods such as fruits and vegetables. That’s because fruits and vegetables also contain multiple other healthy ingredients that have beneficial effects on the entire body.

When utilizing supplements, keep in mind they may Contain different ingredients, and discrepancies are usually found between tagged and actual ingredients or their amounts.

In Addition, excess amounts of beta-carotene may have adverse consequences on health, particularly in people who smoke or consume alcohol.

Always consult with your doctor before taking nutritional supplements.

Beta-carotene: The Good

1) It Is An Antioxidant

Similar to other carotenoids, beta-carotene has antioxidant properties. It helps protect against reactive oxygen species and averts oxidative stress.

When 12 healthy women were put on a minimal carotene diet, then they experienced improved oxidative stress and diminished superoxide dismutase (SOD) antioxidant activity.

Similarly, in two studies using a total of 167 lead-exposed employees, beta-carotene supplements:

  • Increased G6PD, catalase, and SOD activity — these are enzymes which protect our body from oxidative stress
    Improved vitamin E amounts
  • Reduced malondialdehyde (MDA) levels — a marker of oxidative stress
  • Reduced homocysteine amounts — homocysteine is a metabolic byproduct That’s Been implicated as a marker of several chronic ailments

However, beta-carotene decreased glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity. GPx and GST are very important to neutralize certain free radicals.

Several studies indicate that beta-carotene is advantageous in patients with cystic fibrosis, where it reduces oxidative stress and improves the quality of life.

Apart from circulating in the bloodstream, beta-carotene is also a standard part of individual colostrum and mature milk, where it contributes to anti-oxidant in newborns and babies.

2) It Is Great For The Skin

Many studies have shown that beta-carotene along with other carotenoids helps protect the skin from UV beams by exerting antioxidant effects.

But, there are also studies that failed to locate some valuable effects.

According to a meta-analysis of 7 research (135 subjects), beta-carotene supplementation protects against sunburn. However, the defense becomes effective only after a minimum of 10 weeks of supplementation.

Another study looked at the impact of two different doses (30 and 90 mg/day) of beta-carotene on wrinkles, skin elasticity, collagen content, and UV-induced DNA damage in 30 healthy women. Interestingly, solely the low dose (30 mg/day) improved facial wrinkles and elasticity and counteracted photoaging.

Dietary beta-carotene is significantly more efficient than when it is applied to the skin because it’s more secure.

3) Improves Brain Health

Since oxidative stress contributes to the aging of the mind, antioxidants such as beta-carotene can help protect brain function.

In a clinical trial of almost 6,000 individuals, those that received long term beta-carotene supplementation performed better on cognitive tasks. They had better cognitive and memory functions generally. This was especially true for the men and women who took beta-carotene for at least 15 years. But, short-term supplementation has been unsuccessful.

At a meta-analysis of 7 studies, dietary intake of beta-carotene was linked to a lower chance of Alzheimer’s.

4) Protects Eye Health

In a meta-analysis of all 22 posts, higher blood levels of beta-carotene diminished the risk of cataracts, a clouding of the eye lens that impairs vision. A similar association was found for greater dietary beta-carotene intake.

In 29 patients with retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disorder that can result in loss of eyesight, a supplement comprising beta-carotene improved retinal function.

At a clinical trial of 3,640 adults, those who took antioxidant supplements (beta-carotene, vitamin E, along with vitamin C) had a significantly reduced risk of vision loss (like age-related macular degeneration).

However, research in 22,000 male physicians showed no overall benefit or injury of 12 decades of beta-carotene supplementation when it comes to cataracts. However, beta-carotene did appear to reduce the extra risk for smokers by roughly one fourth.

5) May Protects Against Diabetes

In over 37,000 healthy areas, higher dietary intake of beta-carotene was linked with a decreased risk of diabetes.

But when it comes to dietary studies, it’s tough to say if advantages are because of beta-carotene particularly or too high vegetable and fruit intake generally.

In 108 obese non-diabetic people, higher blood levels of beta-carotene were linked to high blood adiponectin levels. This means that beta-carotene from the bloodstream may increase insulin sensitivity.

6) May Protect Against Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. You have metabolic syndrome if you’ve at least three of these:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood glucose
  • Excess body fat around the waist
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood glucose levels

In an observational analysis of 910 individuals, people who have higher beta-carotene amounts had a lower chance of developing metabolic syndrome over the next 10 years. Additionally, they had a lesser chance of getting elevated cholesterol (dyslipidemia).

Beta-carotene Can protect against metabolic syndrome by decreasing cholesterol absorption in the gut and raising cholesterol excretion in the feces.

A study in rats demonstrated that supplementation with beta-carotene diminished cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, And liver cholesterol and fat content. These were accompanied by a gain in the loss of fat and cholesterol via feces.

7) Is Associated with Lower Uric Acid Levels

High uric acid levels can lead to gout and kidney stones.

In a study of over 14,000 individuals, low beta-carotene was connected to higher uric acid levels (hyperuricemia).

8) May Protect Against Heart Disease

In over 1,000 men followed over 15 decades, people with reduced blood levels of beta-carotene were more than 2 times more likely to die of heart disease.

In mice fed a high-fat diet, a natural supply of beta-carotene, alga Dunaliella, decreased the hardening of the arteries and prevented an increase in blood cholesterol levels.

9) May Protect Against Cancer

Studies support the role of dietary and circulating beta-carotene in regards to cancer prevention. These amounts correspond to greater fruit and vegetable consumption in general. But outcomes are controversial in regards to beta-carotene supplementation.

Circulating and Dietary Beta-Carotene

Higher blood levels of beta-carotene have been associated with a lower risk of cancer, including lung, lung, leukemia, and bone cancer.

A meta-analysis of 19 studies containing over 500,000 people suggests that higher dietary beta-carotene intake reduces the risk of lung cancer.

Likewise in another meta-analysis of 5 research with over 3,700 subjects, high vs. low dietary intake of beta-carotene was associated with a 16 percent lower chance of having ovarian cancer.

In 540 head and neck cancer patients treated by radiation, higher blood and dietary beta-carotene amounts were associated with fewer adverse effects and a lower rate of cancer recurrence.

A Study in 190 healthy individuals showed a U-shaped relationship between beta-carotene ingestion and genome stability. Both low and higher intakes (< 4.1 and > 6.4 mg/day) increased DNA mutations, which has the potential to result in cancer.

Beta-carotene Supplements

Some studies reveal that supplementation with beta-carotene is linked to a decreased risk of cancer, including prostate, neck, and colon cancer.

Other research (39,000 and 29,000 individuals ) found no benefit or harm from beta-carotene supplementation regarding the incidence of cancer.

But a meta-analysis of 6 trials, for example over 40,000 participants, found that beta-carotene nutritional supplements increased the risk of lung cancer.

As per a meta-analysis of 9 trials, People who smoke and asbestos-exposed workers should avoid beta-carotene nutritional supplements since they may raise the probability of getting lung or stomach cancer.

10) May Protect Against Radiation

Beta-carotene Supplement effectively decreased cell damage in 709 kids exposed to various doses of radiation through and after the Chernobyl accident.

In rats, beta-carotene revealed significant antimutagenic/radioprotective action against radioactive iodine, which is used in diagnosing thyroid disorders.

11) May Promote Longevity

A meta-analysis of 41 observational research (more than 500,000 people) suggests that both higher blood levels along with a greater dietary intake of beta-carotene are linked with decreased all-cause mortality.

According To another meta-analysis of over 25,000 people, higher blood levels of beta-carotene were connected to a decreased risk of death from all causes. Similarly, in 150,000 people, a higher intake of dietary beta-carotene was linked to a diminished chance of all-cause mortality.

In over 29,000 men, people who have higher serum beta carotene had significantly lower general, heart disease, stroke, and cancer mortality.

However, in a meta-analysis of 53 trials (over 240,000 participants), beta-carotene supplementation at a dose above the RDA (9.6 mg/day) was associated with slightly increased mortality.

Again, dietary and blood levels of beta-carotene mirror vegetable and fruit intake, which can be beneficial for health generally.

Beta-carotene: The Bad

1) Increases Cancer and Heart Disease Risk in Smokers

Two large trials, supplementation with beta-carotene raised the risk of lung cancer. Subjects in these studies were predominantly cigarette smokers, and the negative effects were more pronounced among those who drank alcohol.

The First trial included 18,000 participants in an elevated risk for lung cancer due to a history of smoking or asbestos exposure. It had been stopped ahead of schedule in 1996 when it became evident that individuals randomly assigned to beta-carotene supplements had a 28% gain in the prevalence of lung cancer, a 17% increase in passing, and a 26% higher rate of heart disease mortality compared with the participants in the placebo group.

In the second trial, beta-carotene increased the risk of having a heart attack and lung cancer from 29,000 male smokers. The threat wasn’t dependant on the pitch or nicotine content of cigarettes smoked.

A study of 864 subjects with colon cancer that had cancer removed, beta-carotene markedly reduced the probability of recurrent cancer in those who neither smoked cigarettes or drank alcohol. There was a modest increase in the risk of recurrence among those who smoked. But, for those who smoked cigarettes and also drank more than one alcoholic beverage per day, beta-carotene doubled the chance of colon cancer recurrence.

Beta-carotene supplements increased the risk of stroke (intracerebral hemorrhage) by 62 percent in a study with over 28,000 cigarette smokers.


Benzyo[a]pyrene (BaP), present in cigarette smoke, has a well-known carcinogenic track record. It has triggered the transformation into benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide (BPDE), which is highly mutagenic. Protection against BPDE is supplied by GSTs (glutathione S-transferases). However, beta-carotene blocks the GTS function.

In addition, carotenoid breakdown contributes to some very reactive products which increase oxidative stress. These are usually neutralized by other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, however, smoking reduces their levels.

2) Increases Cancer and Heart Disease Risk When Used With Alcohol

Alcohol (ethanol) interferes with the conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A.

In smokers who also consume alcohol, beta-carotene supplementation boosts lung cancer and, possibly, heart disease.

3) Excess Supplementation May Boost Immune

A meta-analysis of 53 trials with over 240,000 participants indicates that beta-carotene supplementation in a dose above 9.6 mg/day may marginally increase mortality.

Normal Range

Beta-carotene isn’t a routine test. Nonetheless, it is likely to check it using a simple blood test. Women will often have slightly higher levels than males.

Regular Levels for men are approximately 4 — 51 ug/dL (micrograms per deciliter) and for girls 6 — 77 ug/dL. Levels may vary slightly between laboratories.

Low Beta-carotene Levels

Reasons For Low Beta-carotene Levels

Causes Revealed here are commonly related to reduced beta-carotene levels. Work with your doctor or another healthcare professional to find an accurate diagnosis.

1) Malnourishment

Beta-carotene amounts are a fantastic indicator of your fruit and vegetable intake, along with your overall dietary customs.

Beta-carotene levels are reduced in inadequately ventilated kids and in those who it few fruits and veggies.

A Review of 7 articles including around 4500 European adolescents, showed that beta-carotene lack was rather widespread, affecting 14 — 19%.

2) Obesity

Overweight and obese individuals tend to have reduced beta-carotene levels compared to people with a healthy weight.

A study with 92 healthy overweight subjects receiving beta-carotene supplements, people with higher BMI had reduced circulating beta-carotene amounts.

3) Smoking

Smoking reduces beta-carotene levels.

4) Alcohol Consumption

Drinking alcohol also decreases beta-carotene amounts.

5) Diseases that Impair Nutrient Absorption

Cholestatic Liver disease may cause issues with the absorption of nutrients in the gut. In an observational study of 53 children with cholestatic liver disease, more than 80 percent had low beta-carotene levels.

Occasionally, And especially in developing nations, parasites may interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the intestine. Studies show that in kids, deworming (antihelminthic) therapy helps boost beta-carotene degrees.

Beta-carotene deficiency is not uncommon in all phases of HIV/AIDS. This disorder can lead to nausea and prevents the small intestine from absorbing fats, which leads to decreased beta carotene levels in the blood.

However, clinical trials have not shown any beneficial effects of beta-carotene supplementation. Low beta-carotene levels often reflect a more lively HIV-1 infection as opposed to a deficiency amenable to intervention.

6) Hyperthyroidism

In various studies, patients with hyperthyroidism, or thyroid gland, had decreased beta-carotene degrees.

7) Birth Control Pills

An observational study of 150 girls, those who took birth control pills (oral contraceptives) had reduced beta-carotene levels than those which didn’t.

How to Increase Beta-carotene Levels

The most important issue is to work with your doctor to find out what’s causing your low beta-carotene levels and to treat any underlying problems.

Discuss the lifestyle changes listed below with your Doctor. None of those strategies should be completed in place of what your doctor prescribes or recommends!

The best method to enhance your beta-carotene levels is to increase the amount of beta-carotene-rich meals on your diet plan. Good sources include:

  • Fruits (apricots, peaches, persimmons, melon, strawberry, citrus, tomatoes)
  • Green veggies (broccoli, spinach, parsley, collard greens)
  • Orange tuber vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes)
  • Animal tissues and products (salmon, egg yolk, butterfat)

Fiber may hinder beta-carotene absorption. That is the reason why fruit and vegetable juices are a better source of the nutrient than whole fruits/vegetables.

But what’s better is adding fats to beta-carotene rich meals. Dietary fats increase the bioavailability of carotenoids in meals. As an instance, studies show that avocado increases both beta-carotene absorption from 2.4 into 6.6-fold and also improves the conversion to vitamin A by 4.6 — 12.6-fold.

In the same way, mayonnaise can increase the absorption of beta-carotene. A study has found that mayonnaise-containing meal is a better source of beta-carotene compared to fruit/vegetable juice.

Processed vegetables, like carrots and spinach, are a better source of beta-carotene compared to their raw counterparts.

Consuming higher amounts of plant sterols that decrease cholesterol absorption reduces beta-carotene bioavailability [85]. Plant sterols are present in wheat germ, vegetable oils (corn, sesame, canola and olive oil), Peanuts, almonds, and foods that are fortified. However, these foods are healthy for heart health since they also decrease cholesterol.

Lose weight if obese. People that are obese/overweight have reduced beta-carotene degrees.

Avoid smoking and alcohol.

Avoid lutein supplements, they reduce the absorption of beta-carotene.

High Beta-carotene levels

Causes of Top Beta-carotene Amounts

Causes Shown here are generally correlated with high beta-carotene levels. Work with your doctor or another health care practitioner to find an accurate identification.

1) Dietary Intake

Excessive Dietary intake of beta-carotene rich foods can cause your beta-carotene levels to rise, as well as possibly cause vitamin A toxicity. This, however, is extremely rare and occurs only with highly specific diets.

Beta-carotene Conversion to vitamin A decreases as the dietary dose increases, protecting us in many cases from vitamin A toxicity.

2) Hypothyroidism

Individuals with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) have significantly higher beta-carotene levels.

Symptoms of Excess Beta-carotene

Excessive consumption of beta-carotene-rich foods may cause vitamin toxicity. Symptoms include [88, 90, 91]:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Infection
  • Dizziness
  • Weight-loss
  • baldness
  • Dry skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle pain

How to Reduce Beta-carotene Amounts

The most important thing is to use your physician to learn what’s causing your elevated beta-carotene rates and to treat any underlying conditions.

Discuss the lifestyle changes listed below with your Physician. None of those strategies should be done in place of what your doctor recommends or prescribes!

In case you have vitamin toxicity, your physician may recommend decreasing the amount of beta-carotene-rich meals on your daily diet for a while. You should avoid fruit and vegetable juices in favor of whole fruits and vegetables.

You’re able to consume higher quantities of plant sterols that reduce cholesterol absorption and decrease beta-carotene bioavailability. Plant sterols are found in wheat germ, vegetable oils (corn, sesame, olive and olive oil), peanuts, almonds, and foods that are fortified.

Genes Associated With Beta-carotene Levels


The BCO1 (beta-carotene oxygenase 1) gene creates the receptor accountable for converting beta-carotene to vitamin A (retinoid), thereby supporting vision, reproduction, and immune function. 5 SNPs in this gene have been connected to blood beta-carotene levels and the efficiency of beta-carotene conversion into vitamin A.

SNP High enzyme activity/Lower blood beta-carotene amounts Low enzyme activity/Higher blood beta-carotene amounts
rs7501331 CC T (32% reduced enzyme action, 1.6 times greater beta-carotene amounts)
rs7501331 &

CC & AA T in both SNPs ( 69 percent lower enzyme activity, 2.4 times greater beta-carotene levels)
rs6564851 TT GG (48% reduced enzyme action ); reduced macular pigment optical density*
rs11645428 AA GG (51% decreased action ); reduced macular pigment optical density*
rs6420424 GG AA (59% reduced activity); lower macular pigment optical density*
* The greater the macular pigment density, the greater the visual performance. People with greater density have a lower risk for certain eye disorders.

A missense mutation in this enzyme, T170M, leads to elevated beta-carotene amounts and mild vitamin A deficiency.


If carotenoids accumulate in mitochondria, They interfere with mitochondrial function and trigger oxidative stress. In reality, this can help clarify the adverse health effects of excess beta-carotene reported in clinical trials.

BCO2 (beta-carotene oxygenase 2) is an integral enzyme that prevents oxidative stress by breaking down beta-carotene from the mitochondria. BCO2 breaks beta-carotene in another manner from BCO1, without producing vitamin A.

The following SNPs from the BCO2 gene are associated with increased inflammation, through the production of inflammatory cytokines (IL-18):

  • Rs2115763 — the minor variant T is connected to higher IL-18 levels
  • rs2250417 — the little variant C increases IL-18 levels
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