Overview

Beta-carotene belongs to a group of colored pigments called carotenoids. It's converted to vitamin A in the body and found in many fruits and vegetables.

Beta-carotene and other red, orange, and yellow pigments called carotenoids are considered antioxidants. They provide about 50% of the vitamin A needed in the diet. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects help to protect cells from damage.

People use beta-carotene for an inherited disorder marked by sensitivity to light. It is also used to prevent certain cancers, heart disease, cataracts, aging skin, and many other purposes, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

Many global health authorities recommend getting beta-carotene and other antioxidants from food instead of supplements.

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