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Vitamin A and Beta Carotene Beta Carotene is a carotenoid compound responsible for giving fruits and vegetables their orange pigment. A powerful antioxidant, beta carotene has been found to help protect against cancer and aging. Beta-carotene is a fat soluble vitamin.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplements is beta-carotene.

Beta Carotene, along with other carotenoids, is a molecule that the body easily changes into Vitamin A. While most nutrition labels will list a recommended amount of vitamin A to include in a healthy diet, most health professionals will recommend that beta carotene be the main source of that vitamin A consumption. The reason for this is that beta carotene and other carotenoids are found mainly in fruits and vegetables which contain a host of other vitamins and minerals and are very low in fat. Vitamin A, however, if consumed in its full form, is mainly found in butter and eggs. Getting your recommenced daily allowance of vitamin A without using beta carotene would mean eating large amounts of saturated fats that would be incredibly unhealthy. Once absorbed by the small intestines, beta carotene is changed directly into Vitamin A.

In 1831, beta-carotene was first isolated from the roots of carrots, but it was not until the Nobel prize-winning research of Paul Karrer in the early 1930s that the structure of the substance was determined. The earliest use of synthesized beta-carotene was as a food colorant, but during the 1980s the vitamin precursor 抯 growing reputation as an antioxidant and a possible cancer-fighter resulted in its frequent inclusion in vitamin supplements. Since that time, however, conflicting findings about the benefits of taking synthesized beta-carotene have surfaced.

Beta-carotene belongs to a class of chemical compounds called carotenoids. Among many other positive health benefits, carotenoids act as a precursor to vitamin A, so if you know about the benefits of vitamin A, you will completely understand the importance of beta-carotene.

Basically, when you consume foods or ingest supplements containing beta-carotene, it breaks down into vitamin A in your liver.

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Beta-carotene is thought to possess many positive health benefits and in particular helps prevent night blindness and other eye problems.

It also effective in skin disorders, enhances immunity, protects against toxins and cancer formations, colds, flu, and infections. It is an antioxidant and protector of the cells while slowing the aging process.

It is considered that natural Beta-Carotene aids in cancer prevention. It is important in the formation of bones and teeth. No vitamin overdose can occur with natural Beta-Carotene. It has been reported that beta carotene offers a notable measure of photoprotection to individuals with porphyria. (Beta-Carotene helps to protect the eye and vision).

Vitamin A is necessary for a large number of metabolic functions similar to other vitamins. One of the major unique functions of vitamin A is it role in vision, especially dim-light vision. In third world countries where fruit and vegetables are not readily available, vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness in children. Beta carotene is a rather cheap vitamin to produce, which means this type of blindness is easily preventable.

Vitamin A produced from beta carotene is also necessary for normal cell growth and cell division. DNA replication requires the presence of vitamin A to function properly. Because of this, rapidly dividing cells often give the first signs of vitamin A deficiency. These symptoms include poor skin quality, brittle hair and nausea because of problems with the lining of the stomach. Vitamin A is also an important part of bone and teeth development. Inadequate Vitamin A during the growing years will lead to abnormal growth of the extremities.

Another important function of vitamin A includes its use by the body as an antioxidant. An antioxidant is a molecule that the body can use to block a number of harmful chemical reactions. One of these harmful reactions involves the interference of DNA replication by free radicals. Vitamin A and other antioxidants bind with the free radicals and keep them from disrupting cell division. Another very important action of antioxidants and vitamin A involve the formation of plaques by cholesterol. Once inside the bloodstream, cholesterol binds together and forms plaques which then attach to the inside of the artery wall and restrict blood flow. Antioxidants including vitamin A, keep the cholesterol from binding together, and also prevent it from attaching to the walls of the arteries.

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Vitamin a and beta carotene