Product No. P02124

  • Min 20% beta carotene
  • Tablet grade 
  • Vegan suitable

Beta carotene is part of a family of chemicals called carotenoids, which are found in many fruits and vegetables, as well as some animal products, such as egg yolks.

Carotenoids typically contain 40 carbon atoms and an extensive system of conjugated double bonds. They usually show internal symmetry and frequently contain one or two ring structures at the ends of their conjugated chains. Three of these carotenoids - alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin - can serve as dietary precursors of retinol (vitamin A). Collectively, these carotenoids are called provitamin A carotenoids.

Carotenoids were first isolated in the early 19th century, and have been synthesised for use as food colourings since the 1950’s. They are one of the most important groups of natural pigments, responsible for many of the red, yellow and orange colours of fruit and vegetables, existing either as a solution in oil, or as part of a matrix within the vegetable or fruit. Beta carotene is most abundant in carrots, but is also found in large quantities in pumpkins, apricots and nectarines. Dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are also a good source - the orange colour being masked by the green colour of chlorophyll. The efficiency of absorption of beta carotene is variable - less than 5% from carrots and other raw foods. However, the efficiency of absorption of beta carotene from beta carotene-containing nutritional supplements can be as high as 70%.

There is some evidence that beta carotene may play a beneficial role in human nutrition beyond its provitamin A function. It has antioxidant activity, and has been demonstrated to scavenge free radicals and inhibit lipid peroxidation. It may also enhance intercellular communication and have anticarcinogenic activities in certain circumstances.

Beta carotene has demonstrated some immunomodulatory effects, and has also been found to enhance natural killer cell activity in elderly men, to increase lymphocyte response to mitogens in healthy male cigarette smokers, although the mechanism of this activity is not well understood. It is speculated that beta carotene may increase cellular differentiation, reduce epidermal growth factor receptors and adenyl cyclase activity, enhance expression of gap junctional proteins and protect against oxidative damage.

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