Beta carotene belongs to a group of chemical compounds necessary for proper synthesis of vitamin A. It can be found in certain vegetables and gives them typical yellow- orange color. Beta carotene is famous for its incredible antioxidant characteristics and it is highly recommended to be taken in proper daily doses.
Benefits of Beta Carotene
This chemical compound is excellent for prevention against cancer and heart conditions. Furthermore, it may postpone the progression of cataract and prevent degeneration of muscles. Beta carotene is also known as powerful booster of the immune system. It is also good since it protects the skin from damage caused by exposure to sun. Patients suffering from asthma, depression, Parkinson's disease, psoriasis, arthritis, intermittent claudications, and hypertension may benefit from beta carotene. It is even good for problems with fertility and may help women suffering from cervical dysplasia.
Beta Carotene Toxicity
Beta carotene toxicity is basically caused by over dosage of beta carotene. This usually happens if the person takes too much supplements which contain beta carotene.
Typical symptoms for beta carotene toxicity include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, loss of senses and so on. The symptoms occur soon after a person has taken large dose of the supplements containing beta carotene. This condition must be reported to the doctor as soon as possible.
Hypervitaminosis A is a condition which affect people who take too much vitamin A. Vitamin A belongs to a fat-soluble vitamins and the excess of this vitamin cannot be excreted by urine so increased intake may lead to its accumulation in the body. Hypervitaminosis A features with skin discoloration in a form of yellowish tint to the skin. Additional problems include liver problems, osteoporosis, hair loss etc.
Carotenodermia is one more type of beta carotene toxicity. This condition mostly features with skin changes. It develops as a consequence of increased intake of beta carotene supplements. The symptoms include yellowish or pale palms and soles. The symptoms are reversible once the person discontinues beta carotene supplements.
Consequence of Increased Intake of Beta Carotene
Apart from being potentially toxic beta carotene is very harmful for smokers. Namely, it increases the risk of lung cancer in people who smoke. This is why people who are smokers should stay away from beta carotene supplements. The explanation why smokers who take beta carotene are more susceptible to lung cancer is related to the fact that metabolites of beta carotene destroy retinoic acid, a substance which is necessary for suppression of lung cancer.