All You Should Know About Beta-Carotene - HSF Nutra

The Full Instruction About Beta-Carotene

Learn about Beta Carotene benefits, usage, difference with vitamin A, and dosage for human body in our daily life

The name beta-carotene comes from the Greek word “beta” (beta) and the Latin word “carota” (carrot). This yellow/orange pigment gives vegetables and fruit vivid colors. The earliest studies on carotenoids date back to the beginning of the 19th century.  Beta-carotene was first crystallized by Wackenroder in 1831.

Is Beta-Carotene the same as vitamin A?

Beta-carotene is considered as a precursor to vitamin A。It is an essential vitamin for any age, including immune system and vision. It is converted to vitamin A as needed by the body. Beta-Carotene doesn’t convert into vitamin A at a 1:1 ratio. It’s about the range of 3:1 or 28:1, and it also depending on several factors. If a person is zinc deficient, has poor thyroid function or malabsorption of fats, then Beta-Carotene may not be converted at all.  

Beta-Carotene and Vitamin A

Top 10 Foods High in Beta-Carotene

Sweet Potatoes
Turnip Greens
Beet Greens
Winter Squash
Half a cup of cooked carrots has 671 milligrams of vitamin A and just 27 calories.
Half a cup of canned pumpkin has 953 milligrams of vitamin A and only 42 calories.
One medium sweet potato has 1,096 milligrams of vitamin A and 103 calories.
One half cup of spinach offers a healthy 573 milligrams of vitamin A and only 30 calories.
These leafy greens have 489 milligrams of vitamin A, plenty of Beta-Carotene, and just 31 calories in one half a cup.
Kale has 478 milligrams of the nutrient and 20 calories per half cup serving.
Half a cup of turnip greens has 441 milligrams of vitamin A, 851 micrograms of vitamin K, and just 24 calories.
Beet greens are a top source of several nutrients, with 276 milligrams of vitamin A, 697 micrograms of vitamin K, 655 milligrams of potassium, and just 19 calories per half a cup.
Winter squash is a delicious source of nutritious Beta-Carotene.
Cabbage, especially Chinese pak-choi, is another great source of Beta-Carotene.
Beta-Carotene in life

What are the benefits of beta-carotene?

For Eye Support

As we mentioned before, beta-carotene can be converted to Vitamin A and absorbed by our body. Vitamin A helps your brain and eyes convert the light coming into them into signals that affect what you see. This can help in poor light situations. In this way, beta-carotene do support the night vision.

Beta-carotene and other antioxidants help to delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to changes in vision. Antioxidants help delay the progression of macular degeneration symptoms by preventing oxidative stress that plays an important role in cell degeneration and nerves in the retina/macula.

For Skin Support

Beta-carotene has a number of benefits for the skin. For example, it can reduce the symptoms of erythropoietic protoporphyria, a condition that causes extreme pain and skin irritation when exposed to sunlight. β-Carotene has been used for over 30 years to ameliorate the skin photosensitivity arising from excess protoporphyrin. In the early studies of Mathews-Roth and co-workers[2], about 84% of those with EPP benefited from large daily doses of β-carotene. Currently the normal dose used is 75–150 mg/day.[3] Beta-carotene is also used to treat other UV-related diseases such as solar urticaria, polymorphic light rash (PLE) and photoallergic drug reactions.

For Lung Support

Since it is involved in maintaining cells in the epithelium or tissue lining, vitamin A is essential for a respiratory system. Vitamin A deficiency during pregnancy can cause long-term negative effects on the lung health of the child.

For Immune Health

As beta-carotene is an antioxidant, it can improve our immune health by reducing oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress directly leads to chronic diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, stroke, atherosclerosis and more.

Antioxidants enhance our immune function by removing and destroying free radicals. Free radicals can cause damage to our body, which can lead to chronic inflammation and disease formation. Researchers have shown that beta-carotene can increase the activeness and number of immune cells.

Side Effects

Consuming large doses of beta-carotene or other carotenoids in food will not cause symptoms of toxicity. However, when consuming large amounts of beta-carotene-rich foods, the person’s skin can turn yellow or orange. This condition is known as carotenosis or carrot skin disease, and it appears to be reversible and harmless.

Signs You May Need Beta-Carotene

According to the WHO, vitamin A deficiency is common in developing countries. It is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. And other signs are hair loss, night blindness, dry or inflamed eyes and skin irritation.

How much beta-carotene is safe?

The safe dose of Beta-Carotene is very different to different people. This following information is just for reference, please follow your doctor’s directions before you take them.

For oral dosage forms (capsules or chewable tablets).

Adults and adolescents
Beta-carotene (mg/day)
6 to 15 mg
3 to 6 mg
Vitamin A
Equivalent to 10,000 to 25,000 units of vitamin A activity
Equivalent to 5,000 to 10,000 units of vitamin A activity


[2] Mathews-Roth M.M., Pathak M.A., Fitzpatrick T.B., Haber L.H., Kass E.H. Beta-carotene therapy for erythropoietic protoporphyria and other photosensitivity diseases. Arch. Dermatol. 1977;113:1229– doi: 10.1001/archderm.1977.0164009007701

[3] Black HS, Boehm F, Edge R, Truscott TG. The Benefits and Risks of Certain Dietary Carotenoids that Exhibit both Anti- and Pro-Oxidative Mechanisms-A Comprehensive Review. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020;9(3):264. Published 2020 Mar 23. doi:10.3390/antiox9030264