Beta-carotene belongs to a group of plant compounds called carotenoids. Beta-carotene is also known as pro-vitamin A. Enzymes in the epithelial lining of the intestinal tract split beta-carotene into two molecules of Vitamin A whenever the body needs it. This makes beta-carotene the most abundant precursors of vitamin A in fruits and vegetables. There are approximately 500+ carotenoids that occur in nature. They are the pigments that give the yellow, orange, and red coloration in fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene is the most abundant carotenoid in human foods as well the most important for humans.
Beta-carotene functions as an antioxidant by trapping free radicals which halts or breaks the chains of free radical activity. When it comes to oxygen free radical activity in humans, Beta-carotene is the most effective natural agent capable of dismantling single oxygen free radicals. There are no known toxicities associated with beta-carotene but ingestion of large doses of beta-carotene can result in carotenosis which is characterized by a harmless but distinctive orange coloring of the skin. You will notice the intense coloration on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. The orange color virtually disappears once the dosage is lowered or completely stopped. No recommended daily allowance has been established for beta-carotene but the range is 5000-30,000 IU (international units) per day.
Since beta-carotene is a dietary precursor of vitamin A, not having adequate amounts of this nutrient will cause certain symptoms in the body. Low dietary intake of beta-carotene is associated with a weaker immune system due to increased free radical damage. The prevalence of different types of cancer is also related to a low dietary intake of beta-carotene. There are several drugs that are quite capable of reducing blood levels, the primary cause for a deficiency of beta-carotene is not eating enough colored fruits and vegetables.
Beta-carotene resides in fruit and vegetables. Food containing high amounts of beta-carotene include:
Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, Ross Pelton RPh, PhD, CCN, James B. LaValle, RPh, DHM, NMD, CCN, Ernest B Hawkins, RPh, MS, Daniel L. Krinsky, RPh, MS
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 13th Edition, 1978
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, James F. Balch, MD, Phyllis A Balch, CNC, 1990
Dr. Budweiser is dedicated to the belief and philosophy that the mission of the medical industry should be to assist people with attaining health freedom. With more than 20 years experience as a chiropractor and a 30-year history in nutrition and as an international speaker, he travels the world sharing his knowledge on health, wellness and abundance. As a neuro-musculo-skeletal expert, he is an expert in the human frame and wellness and has been wildly successful in using The Weiser Living concept to help others regain their health and wholeness.
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