Beta Carotene

Beta Carotene Brand Name– A-Caro-25

What is Beta Carotene

Beta carotene, a pigment found in various green and yellow fruits and vegetables, is a significant source of vitamin A.

Unlike vitamin A, high dosages do not produce toxicity or excessive serum concentrations of vitamin A, perhaps because conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A is unpredictable.

Deficiency of vitamin A is well known to cause xerophthalmia. Recently, attention has focused on the role of beta-carotene and other vitamins as cancer-preventing compounds, however studies published in 1996 revealed that beta-carotene supplementation did not reduce the incidence of malignancy or cardiovascular disease in healthy volunteers and may actually have an adverse effect on the incidence of lung cancer in smokers and workers exposed to asbestos.

Other uses include photoprotection in patients with polymorphous light eruption or other photosensitizing conditions.

Beta-carotene is also used to decrease the severity of photosensitivity reactions in patients with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP).

Although beta-carotene has proved beneficial in this regard, it should not be used as a sunscreen in normal individuals.

Beta carotene was approved by the FDA in 1940.

Indications

  1. erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP)
  2. nutritional supplementation
  3. polymorphous light eruption
  4. vitamin A deficiency

Side Effects

  • decreased HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration
  • myocardial infarction
  • skin discoloration

In rare instances, arthralgia, diarrhea, ecchymoses, and dizziness have been reported during use of beta-carotene.

Skin discoloration will develop within 2—6 weeks after regular ingestion of beta-carotene. The first signs are yellowing of the palms and the soles, with some yellowing of the face. This response is predictable, so patients should be counseled accordingly. It will resolve within 1—2 weeks after discontinuation of therapy.

In people who smoke, beta-carotene 20 to 30 mg daily also seems to increase cardiovascular mortality by 12% to 26%.

Men who have had myocardial infarction have 43% increased risk of fatal coronary heart disease with daily intake of 20mg beta-carotene.

Decreased HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration by 15% has also been reported with beta-carotene.

Monitoring Parameters

  • laboratory monitoring not necessary

Contraindications

  • breast-feeding
  • hepatic disease
  • hypervitaminosis A
  • pregnancy
  • renal disease
  • renal impairment
  • tobacco smoking

Interactions

  • Calcium
  • Calcium Carbonate; Risedronate
  • Castor Oil
  • Cholestyramine
  • Colesevelam
  • Colestipol
  • Methoxsalen
  • Mineral Oil
  • Orlistat
  • Porfimer
  • Risedronate
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Sodium Thiosulfate; Salicylic Acid
  • St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum
  • Verteporfin
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