Beta Carotene: What role does beta carotene play in our body? We know beta carotene as vitamin A, although it is actually its provitamin. Regardless of whether it converts to vitamin A or not, it brings many benefits to our health. Why is it so important in your daily diet? When should we supplement beta carotene?
The role of beta carotene in the human body
Beta carotene is mainly associated with a positive effect on the skin, or rather its color. Indeed, if we deliver it to the body in the right doses, the skin takes on a beautiful peach color. At the same time, it looks healthy and very natural. Nevertheless, if we deliver too much beta carotene to the body, our skin will turn orange – fortunately, the unsightly effect disappears after discontinuation of carotene.
Beta carotene plays a number of other roles in our body that contribute to its proper functioning. For example, it has a positive effect on the work of the digestive system, regulating metabolism. It also helps to strengthen immunity, which makes us eager to reach for it in the autumn and winter season. People with high cholesterol levels should take it. All because beta carotene has the ability to lower it, thus preventing atherosclerosis. Beta carotene helps reduce oxidative stress and prevents the proliferation of free radicals. Doctors recommend taking it to people after chemotherapy and radiotherapy, unless of course there are any contraindications.
Beta carotene protects us from the harmful effects of UV rays. Let’s note that many sunscreens contain it in their composition, doctors also recommend using beta carotene in the summer season for people who are easily sunburned.
Where is beta carotene located?
Beta carotene is found primarily in food. Its primary sources are orange and red fruits and vegetables. The most of it is in carrots, which we can consume in various forms – raw, as a juice or an addition to dishes. Beta carotene can also be found in pumpkin, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and parsley. When it comes to fruit, we should reach for cherries, cherries, oranges or apricots. Seaweed is also a good source.
Beta carotene can therefore be supplemented by reaching for raw vegetables and fruits, juices, sauces prepared on their basis or purees. It is most difficult to supplement deficiencies in the winter season, when access to vegetables and fruits is limited. Then we can also reach for dietary supplements. Some of them are only beta carotene, sometimes combined with vitamins A and E – such products perfectly affect the condition of our skin. Others are vitamin complexes, including beta carotene.
When is it worth supplementing with beta carotene?
We reach for beta carotene in the form of dietary supplements most often in autumn and winter, as well as in summer. In the season of increased morbidity, it is primarily intended to strengthen our immune system, and in the summer to protect us from the adverse effects of UV rays. However, not everyone needs to supplement with beta carotene.
We are able to provide the body with sufficient amounts of it with food, which is why we should eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, which are its basic source. However, if our diet is poor in them, which is especially the case in winter and early harvest, we can reach for various types of dietary supplements.
Often we also lack other vitamins, which is why a variety of their complexes work well. Dietary supplements with beta carotene should also be taken by people whose diet is relatively poor, which results from the inability to eat more food. Doctors often recommend that beta carotene be supplemented by people suffering from cancer or in the period of remission. Seniors can also reach for dietary supplements with beta carotene. If you notice symptoms of vitamin A deficiency, it is good to take it in the form of a dietary supplement for some time.
Any deficiencies are difficult to supplement with diet alone. However, supplementation is not recommended for young children, teenagers or pregnant or breastfeeding women. Then we should discuss the detailed procedure in the case of deficiency with the attending physician.
Beta carotene deficiency – is it dangerous?
We already know how beta carotene affects our body, so let’s ask ourselves whether its deficiency is really dangerous? The first symptoms of the lack of beta carotene in the body can be seen on our skin – it becomes dry and pale, which makes it look unhealthy. Deficiencies of beta carotene can result in sunburn, mood swings or visual impairment.
In the long run, beta carotene deficiency is therefore dangerous, so in the event of a deficiency, it is worth reaching for an appropriate dietary supplement. On the other hand, let us remember that beta carotene in excess adversely affects the functioning of the kidneys and liver. Excess beta carotene is not excreted in the urine, so it can have a very adverse effect on our body.