Beta-Carotene

How does Beta-carotene work?

Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, an essential nutrient. It has antioxidant activity, which helps to protect cells from damage.

Are there safety concerns?

Beta-carotene is LIKELY SAFE in adults and children when taken by mouth in appropriate amounts for certain specific medical conditions. However, beta-carotene supplements are not recommended for general use.

Beta-carotene is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in high doses, especially when taken long-term. High doses of beta-carotene can turn skin yellow or orange.

There is growing concern that taking high doses of antioxidant supplements such as beta-carotene might do more harm than good. Some research shows that taking high doses of beta-carotene supplements might increase the chance of death from all causes, increase the risk of certain cancers, and possibly other serious side effects. In addition, there is also concern that taking large amounts of a multivitamin plus a separate beta-carotene supplement increases the chance of developing advanced prostate cancer in men.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Beta-carotene is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in appropriate amounts. However, large doses of beta-carotene supplements are not recommended for general use during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Smoking: In people who smoke, beta-carotene supplements might increase the risk of colon, lung, and prostate cancer. Don't take beta-carotene supplements if you smoke.

History of asbestos exposure: In people who have been exposed to asbestos, beta-carotene supplements might increase the risk of cancer. Don't take beta-carotene supplements if you have been exposed to asbestos.

Angioplasty, a heart procedure. There is some concern that when antioxidant vitamins, including beta-carotene, are used together they might have harmful effects after angioplasty. They can interfere with healing. Don't use beta-carotene and other antioxidant vitamins before or after angioplasty without the recommendation of your healthcare provider.


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