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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beta-Carotene

An ANTIOXIDANT (which helps fight off cancer): "Keeps skin healthy, helps prevent night blindness and infections, promotes bone and growth development (1)."  

2

IMPORTANT NOTE: TOO MUCH MAY BE HARMFUL.  SEE BELOW.

"Food Sources: Red, yellow-orange and leafy green vegetables and fruits, including carrots apricots, cantaloupe  peppers, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes and pumpkin (1)."

"Consumption of excessive amounts of beta-carotene, a naturally occurring pigment that gives colour to foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and certain greens, may be hazardous to health, suggests a new study [...] But scientists at Ohio State University have found that certain molecules that derive from beta-carotene have an opposite effect in the body: They actually block some actions of vitamin A, which is critical to human vision, bone and skin health, metabolism and immune function.  Because these molecules derive from beta-carotene, researchers predict that a large amount of this antioxidant is accompanied by a larger amount of these anti-vitamin-A molecules, as well.  Vitamin A provides its health benefits by activating hundreds of genes. This means that if compounds contained in a typical source of the vitamin are actually lowering its activity instead of promoting its benefits, too much beta-carotene could paradoxically result in too little vitamin A.  The findings also might explain why, in a decades-old clinical trial, more people who were heavily supplemented with beta-carotene ended up with lung cancer than did research participants who took no beta-carotene at all. The trial was ended early because of that unexpected outcome (3)."

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