The health benefits of beta-carotene
What is the role of Vitamin A in our body?
Vitamin A and its active metabolite retinoic acid (RA)(1) play a major role in
development, differentiation, and support of various tissues and organs of
numerous species. Vitamin A cannot be synthesized de novo by animals
and thus has to be taken up from animal food sources or as provitamin A
carotenoids, the latter being converted by central cleavage of the molecule
to retinal in the intestine. 
What is beta-carotene?
Beta-carotene is an anti-oxidant.  It is also the major carotenoid occurring
in the human diet and in the human organism. Besides its function as
What are the benefits of beta-carotene?
Epidemiologic studies have implied that an above average intake of the
carotenoid might reduce cancer risks. Clinical intervention trials found that
beta-carotene supplementation evoked no change in incidence of
nonmelanoma skin cancer. 
What are the side effects of beta-carotene?
It is endowed with health beneficial properties, but a number of studies
showed that with high intakes it may increase the risk for lung cancer in at
risk individuals (heavy smokers, asbestos workers and alcohol users). [2,3]
A possible mechanism which can explain the dual role of beta-carotene as
both a beneficial and a harmful agent in cancer as well as in other chronic
diseases is its ability in modulating intracellular redox status. beta-Carotene
may serve as an antioxidant or as a prooxidant, depending on its intrinsic
properties as well as on the redox potential of the biological environment in
which it acts. 
Do not overdose ourselves with beta-carotene and we should use it
This article can not be used as medical advice. Please, consult with your medical doctor for
any question or before taking any drug products and supplements. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
 Biesalski HK et al, Conversion of beta-carotene to retinal pigment. Vitam Horm.
2007;75:117-30.  Keijer J Beta-carotene and the application of transcriptomics in risk-benefit
evaluation of natural dietary components.Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 May 30;1740(2):139-46 
Black HS. Pro-carcinogenic activity of beta-carotene, a putative systemic photoprotectant.
Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2004 Aug;3(8):753-8. Epub 2004 Mar 19  Palozza P, et al,
Prooxidant effects of beta-carotene in cultured cells. Mol Aspects Med. 2003 Dec;24(6):353-62.