Skip to main content
Select Source:

Beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is the most active of the deeply colored pigments called carotenoids . After consumption, beta-carotene converts to retinol, a readily usable form of vitamin A. Beta-carotene's beneficial effects include protecting the skin from sunlight damage, fighting early cancer cells, boosting immunity, and preventing cataract formation. It also stops the creation of free radicals (oxidants), which are DNA-damaging molecular fragments in the body.

Food sources of beta-carotene include carrots, spinach, kale, and broccoli, as well as animal sources such as liver, whole eggs, and whole milk. Since beta-carotene is fat-soluble, most fat-free milk has been fortified with vitamin A to replace what is lost when the fat is removed.

Vitamin A is stored in the body, and an excess amount can lead to acute symptoms, such as vomiting and muscle weakness, as well as chronic problems such as liver abnormalities, birth defects, and osteoporosis . In addition, beta-carotene supplements have been found in some studies to actually increase the risk of cancer in smokers. (Excess beta-carotene is not stored in the body, however.) Because of these dangers, the Institute of Medicine recommends that beta-carotene supplements are not to be used by the general public. The institute does advocate the use of such supplements for populations with inadequate vitamin A intake.

see also Antioxidants; Carotenoids; Vitamins, Fat-Soluble.

Chandak Ghosh

Bibliography

Margen, Sheldon, and the Editors of UC Berkeley Wellness Letter (2002). Wellness Foods A to Z: An Indispensable Guide for Health-Conscious Food Lovers. New York: Rebus.

Internet Resources

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center. "Vitamin A and Carotenoids." Available from <http://www.cc.nih.gov>

Wellness Guide to Dietary Supplements. "Beta-Carotene." Available from <http://www.berkeleywellness.com>

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Beta-Carotene." Nutrition and Well-Being A to Z. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Beta-Carotene." Nutrition and Well-Being A to Z. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/food/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/beta-carotene

"Beta-Carotene." Nutrition and Well-Being A to Z. . Retrieved February 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/food/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/beta-carotene

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

beta-carotene

beta-carotene: see carotene; antioxidant; Vitamin A under vitamin.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"beta-carotene." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"beta-carotene." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/beta-carotene

"beta-carotene." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/beta-carotene

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

beta-carotene

beta‐carotene (β‐carotene) See carotene.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"beta-carotene." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"beta-carotene." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/beta-carotene

"beta-carotene." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved February 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/beta-carotene

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.