What is it?

How is it Used?

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Beta-Carotene Usage


Effect of Beta-Carotene on Cervical Cancer

Beta-carotene is also often recommended for another reason: it is an antioxidant, like vitamin E and vitamin C. In observational studies, high intake of carotenoids from food has been associated with...

Read more about Cervical Cancer and Beta-Carotene.

Effect of Beta-Carotene on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Read more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Beta-Carotene.

Therapeutic Uses

There are no well-documented therapeutic uses of beta-carotene, beyond supplying nutritional doses of vitamin A.

Numerous observational studies have found that a high intake of foods rich in carotenoids is associated with a lower incidence of lung cancer, other forms of cancer , and heart disease . ^[4] ^[5] ^[6] ^[7] ^[8] ^[9] However, beta-carotene supplements have not been found to be helpful for preventing these conditions. ^[10] In fact, when all major beta-carotene studies are statistically combined through a process called “meta-analysis,” some evidence appears suggesting that long-term usage of beta-carotene at high doses might increaseoverall death rate, for reasons that are unclear. ^[11] Similarly, observational evidence links high dietary intake of carotenoids to a lower incidence and/or slowed progression of cataracts , macular degeneration , and osteoarthritis , ^[15] but again there is no reliable evidence that beta-carotene supplements are helpful for these conditions. In fact, a 12-year study of over 22,000 male physicians failed to find that beta-carotene had anyeffect on the incidence of macular degeneration. ^[16] Preliminary evidence raised hopes that beta-carotene supplements might increase or preserve immune function or decrease symptoms among people with HIV . ^[18] However, other studies found no benefit, ^[19] and some evidence hints that too much beta-carotene might actually be harmful. ^[20] Beta-carotene supplements may be helpful for protecting the skin from sunburn , particularly in people with extreme sensitivity to the sun , but the evidence regarding this potential use is somewhat contradictory. ^[23] ^[24] ^[25] ^[26] ^[27] ^[28] ^[29] ^[30] ^[31] ^[32] One double-blind trial found that faithful daily use of sunscreen was more effective at preventing sun damage to the skin than oral beta-carotene plus sunscreen used as needed. ^[33] One preliminary study found evidence that beta-carotene might be helpful for cystic fibrosis, by helping prevent lung infections. ^[34] Another preliminary study suggests that beta-carotene might help prevent exercise-induced asthma. ^[35] Weak evidence culled from a large double-blind, placebo-controlled study hints that use of beta-carotene over many years might enhance mental function . ^[37] Beta-carotene has been proposed as a treatment for alcoholism , asthma , depression , epilepsy , headaches , heartburn , male infertility , female infertility , Parkinson's disease , psoriasis , rheumatoid arthritis , and schizophrenia , but there is little to no evidence that it works.

There is some evidence that beta-carotene is noteffective for cervical dysplasia ^[51] or intermittent claudication . ^[53]