What is beta carotene and its relationship with “Vitamin A”

Betacarotene is a type of carotenoid, which are natural pigments responsible for the vibrant colors of certain plants and their fruits and vegetables. Examples of carotenoids are the orange color of the carrot, the yellow of the mango or the red of the persimmon.

When we eat these fruits, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, in the form of retinol, and acts as an antioxidant in cells, eliminating harmful free radicals. Studies say that half of vitamin A in the human body is obtained by ingesting beta-carotene. For this reason, it is called ” pro vitamin A “, being an essential component for the body to obtain the necessary volume of the vitamin.

Where to find beta carotene

There are more than 600 different types of carotenoids found in fruits and vegetables, pigmented in shades of green, red, orange and yellow. The reason they are produced by plants is as a means of defense against solar radiation. Patients suffering from continuous diarrhea, liver disease, cystic fibrosis , malabsorption problems or damage to the pancreas may need a diet with more beta-carotene or vitamin A capsules .

Benefits of beta carotene

To understand how beta-carotene works, you need to know how vitamin A is obtained in the body. It can be in two forms: or by foods of animal origin, which contain vitamin A in the form of retinol, such as chicken and beef liver, whole milk and cheese, and is used directly in the body, or by the vitamin A of the carotenoids, present into fruits and vegetables , which are converted into retinol by the body.

Beta-carotene thus promotes the absorption of vitamin A, having a vital role in our eye health, and works as an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system. Its proper intake keeps the skin healthy, preserving collagen, reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, macular degeneration and stroke , being especially useful for people of advanced age.

Other Benefits

In addition, the benefits of beta-carotene include:

  • Infection prevention, by strengthening natural barriers
  • Bone growth, by stimulating collagen production
  • Hair and skin health, also due to collagen production
  • Eye surface protection

With this last action, beta-carotene prevents dry eye and cataracts . The combination of beta-carotene with vitamin C and vitamin E enhances its benefits. This is because the 3 vitamins have a strong antioxidant action and can act together.

Betacarotene for Tan

Beta-carotene is best known for its action on the skin to help those who want a good tan . This is true, because beta-carotene helps a greater formation of melanin , which is responsible for the pigmentation of the skin, as well as for protection against solar radiation.

In this way, the nutrient can make the color of the tan taken on the beach or in any sunny situation last longer on the skin. For those who want to enjoy this benefit, the ideal is to consume, for example, one capsule of the supplement a day, or eat a carrot and orange juice, daily throughout the month prior to exposure to the Sun.

Tanning also becomes more uniform and occurs more quickly with the activation of melanin by beta-carotene.

Foods That Contain Beta Carotene

Vegetable foods that are rich sources of beta-carotene are:

  • Carrot
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Red Pepper

Other Food

In addition to papaya, persimmon, mango, melon, watermelon, apricot, guava and tangerine. It is not difficult to achieve good amounts of beta-carotene in the daily diet, so it is rare to need supplements . The raw carrot, in just 100 grams, contains 4 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin A.

Sweet potatoes, in turn, have 6 times the daily recommendation in the same 100 grams. A varied diet that includes the above foods is enough to obtain good amounts of beta-carotene.

A tip for increasing the absorption of the nutrient is always to include a fatty food in the meal that contains beta-carotene, without exaggeration, of course. Olive oil or chestnuts are enough.

Beta-carotene capsules are only recommended when nutrient deficiency is detected. It may be the case for people who do not eat fruits and vegetables, or who have problems with malabsorption and chronic diseases in the gastrointestinal tract. Supplementation should always be done with medical advice.

Side Effects of Beta Carotene

The side effects of ingesting beta-carotene are divided into common, which do not require medical attention, or rare, which may disappear during treatment, but if they continue they should be reported to the person’s doctor or caregiver.

Common: Yellowing of parts of the skin such as the palms, hands, soles or face

Rare: Diarrhea, joint pain, dizziness, bleeding or bruising.

See also: Vitamins for Pregnant Women

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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.

Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

Dr. Alexis Hart

My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother. Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

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