Beta carotene

Beta carotene is a carotenoid, which are red, orange or yellow fat-soluble compounds.

They are naturally found in many fruits, grains, oils and vegetables. Alpha, beta and gamma carotene are considered provitamins, as they can convert into active vitamin A in the body.

Beta carotene, which is commercially available and is fit for human use, is extracted from palm oil, algae or mushrooms.

The fat-soluble compound is converted into retinol, which is essential for vision and growth.

Human studies show that beta-carotene has promise for use in oral leukoplakia /precancerous lesions in the mouth/ and for sun tanning.

But there is no proven benefit in sun damaged skin, in reducing the risk of heart disease, in H. Pylori infections, in the prevention of cataracts, diabetes and stroke.

Studies also show that beta-carotene increases the risk of bladder, lung, stomach and prostate cancer.

Fat-soluble compounds also further increase the likelihood of developing malignancy in people who are occupationally exposed to asbestos, smokers, and those who are in an environment with cancer-predisposing factors. .

In addition, some studies show an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death when using dietary supplements containing beta carotene.


Adult – 18 years and over

The American Heart Association recommends that beta carotene intake be achieved through dietary sources, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the daily menu, and not through dietary supplements.

Consuming 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily provides 6.8 milligrams of beta carotene.

In the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, 20-50 mg are recommended. of the fat-soluble compound orally daily for a period of 5-14.2 years.

For cancer prevention 6-75 milligrams of beta carotene orally daily or every other day for 1-14.2 years is recommended.

Note: some studies have found an increased risk of death or cancer with the use of dietary supplements containing beta carotene.

For cataracts, 20-50 mg. of the fat-soluble compound daily or every other day for 5-8 years.
To limit the side effects of chemotherapy, 250 mg. beta carotene orally daily for 21 days, subsequently switching to 75 mg. daily.

The doses of beta carotene indicated below are recommended when the following diseases are diagnosed:

• Chronic lung diseases 20 mg. orally daily for a period of 5-8 years;
• Cystic fibrosis 10-300 mg. by mouth, daily for 14 days to 14 months;
• Diabetes 50 mg., oral intake, for a period of 9 years;
• In erythropoiesis, protoporphyria 25-300 mg., oral intake, daily;
• HIV – 60 mg., 3 times a day orally, for 1-3 months;

To reduce mortality 1.2-50 mg. beta carotene taken daily or every other day for a period of 28 days to 14.1 years.

Note: Some studies have found an increased risk of death and cancer with long-term supplemental use of this carotenoid.

For oral leukoplakia 60-360 mg. of the fat-soluble compound, orally daily or weekly for 6 months to 1 year.

In polymorphic light eruption, 75-180 mg. beta carotene oral intake daily.

In pregnancy – 4.5 milligrams of the fat-soluble compound daily in the period up to the 20th week of gestation.

And then 2.173-2.307 mg. betacarotene taken from red palm oil orally for 8 weeks after the start of the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

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