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β-Carotene

Introduction

Function

Antioxidant effects

side effect

Advantage

Applications

Specification

side effect

The most common side effect of excessive β-carotene consumption is carotenodermia, a physically harmless condition that presents as a conspicuous orange skin tint arising from deposition of the carotenoid in the outermost layer of the epidermis. Chronic, high doses of β-carotene supplements have been associated with increased rate of lung cancer among those who smoke. Additionally, supplemental β-carotene may increase the risk of prostate cancer, intracerebral hemorrhage, and cardiovascular and total mortality in people who smoke cigarettes or have a history of high-level exposure to asbestos.

β-Carotene is stored in the liver and many other organs. Rat studies show that the body cannot convert such stored β-carotene into vitamin A, even if a deficit develops. Heavy consumption of synthetic β-carotene additive from a variety of foods, plus from natural sources, may result in saturating the liver's storage capacity for fat soluble vitamins, so that reserves of other fat soluble vitamins, e.g. vitamin D and vitamin A, are not created - in countries far from the Equator, the summer storage of vitamin D, to be drawn upon during the darker winter, may be particularly important, not least in preventing osteoporosis and other vitamin D-deficiency related problems. In many cases the food color annatto can be used instead of β-carotene, and is not deposited in the body.

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