What is Beta-Carotene

Beta- carotene is perhaps considered the most popular form of carotenoids that belongs to the phytonutrients family and indicates the most prevalent groups of pigments which occur naturally. This is among the most profuse carotenoids present in the American diet and also happens to be among the fifty carotenoids referred to as “provitamin A” compounds which has the capacity to become converted to an active form of vitamin A within the body that is known as retinol.

Food rich in beta-carotene may have other kinds of colors aside from the usual orange and yellow colors. This is due to the fact that other forms of phytonutrient pigments combine well with beta-carotene in order to provide the plant food their distinctive colors such as pink, red and white as added hues to the usual orange and yellow.

Beta-Carotene Food Sources

Beta-carotene can also be found in different kinds of foods in quantities which are concentrated and these include sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, carrots, winter squash, cilantro, broccoli, thymes that are fresh, cantaloupe, romaine lettuce and many more.

Beta-Carotene Functions

-This is able to prevent deficiencies in Vitamin A

It is only during the later part of the twentieth century that the purposes of carotenoids just like the beta-carotene were being talked about only with regards to their prospective activity of vitamin A. Beta-carotene is on the list of the fifty carotenoids from the possible six hundred which are labeled as “provitamin A” compounds considering that the body is capable of converting them into retinol which happens to be vitamin A’s active form.

-This is an antioxidant and can enhance the activity of the immune system

Over the years, carotenoids that include beta-carotene have drawn huge amount of awareness as probable compounds to be used against cancer and aging. Beta-carotene is known as a strong antioxidant that will protect the body cells from potential damages made by free radicals. This is also among the carotenoids that are presumed to boost the performance of the body’s immune system.

-This will encourage good communication of cells

Aside from being effective in enhancing the activity of the immune system and being an antioxidant, carotenoids such as the beta-carotene have the capability to stimulate correct communication between cells. Researchers have affirmed that if communication between cells is poor, this may turn out to be one of the reasons for the overproduction of cells that will as a consequence will lead to cancer or malignancy. Carotenoids play important functions in the prevention of cancer by helping promote good cell communication.

-This is very valuable in terms of reproductive health

According to many, beta-carotene can play a part in the reproduction of women. Even if its precise role in the reproduction has not been identified just yet, it is believed that the corpus luteum contains beta-carotene in greatest concentration compared to other vital organs within the body, and as a result, this will have a significant function in reproductive matters.

Beta-Carotene Deficiency Symptoms

In short term cases, there are no known diseases or medical conditions that are associated with less consumption of carotenoids just like the beta-carotene. Nevertheless, if your consumption of vitamin A is also less, most likely, the symptoms related with deficiency in Vitamin A will result due to insufficient intake of beta-carotene as well as other carotenoids belonging to the provitamin A compounds.

Furthermore, if there is insufficient consumption of carotenoids for a long period of time, this will possibly result to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and different kinds of malignancy. The presence of free radicals seems to be a significant mechanism when it comes to relationship between carotenoid and disease. Research has asserted that if beta-carotene and other carotenoids are reduced in the diet, this can cause in the upsurge of susceptibility of the body to damages caused by free radicals.

Beta-Carotene Toxicity Symptoms

A significant indication of disproportionate consumption of beta-carotene is the skin’s discoloration which is yellow in color and this will mostly occur in the palms of the hands as well as the soles on the feet. This medical problem is referred to as carotenodermia which happens to be reversible and not dangerous.

So far, there have been no reports of lethal side effects when it comes to increase intake of foods or supplements containing carotenoid. As a consequence, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences failed to determine the so-called Tolerable Upper Intake Level or UL for short which is meant for carotenoids when they made a review of these compounds during the year 2000.

Nevertheless, there have been results of two research studies that affirm that the possibilities of developing cancer of the lungs and other diseases of the heart can increase in individuals who smoke excessively and also drink alcohol on a regular basis and also if they are taking supplements with beta-carotene in amounts that are more than 20-30 milligrams each day.

Impact of Cooking, Storage and Processing on Beta Carotene

In some cases, carotenoids which are available in foods can be improved through cooking. If you steam lightly the carrots and spinach, these will improve the ability of the body to absorb the carotenoids found in these foods.

But, you should take into consideration that in nearly all cases if the cooking of vegetables is prolonged, it will possibly decrease the accessibility of carotenoids by transforming its shape to a cis-configuration from the natural trans-configuration. As an illustration, there is a hundred percent content of trans beta-carotene in fresh carrots, whereas the carrots inside the cans have only seventy three percent of trans beta-carotene.

Factors that can contribute to Beta-Carotene Deficiency

As fat-soluble substances, carotenoids will require the existence of fat in the diet in order to have the right absorption in the digestive tract. As a result, your carotenoid condition can be impaired because of a diet which is very low in fat content or if you happen to have a medical ailment which will reduce the ability to take in fat in the diet just like deficiency in pancreatic enzyme, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, celia sprue, removal of some parts or all portions of the stomach by surgery, diseases of the gall bladder and liver.

Since a lot of adolescent as well as young adults do not consume sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables, they do not have adequate beta-carotene. Additionally, you might also have lesser amounts of beta-carotene levels in the blood if you are smoking cigarettes or drinking alcoholic beverages.

Drug-Nutrient Interactions with Beta-Carotene

Bile acid sequestrants such as cholestyramine, colestipol and colestid which are considered to be medications that will lower cholesterol levels can also be capable of lowering carotenoids levels in the blood. Furthermore, Benecol and Take Control which are margarines abundant with plant sterols can lower the absorption of carotenoids.

Interaction of Beta-Carotene with Other Nutrients

While the supplements rich in beta-carotene will lower the lutein levels in the blood, they are also able to augment the levels of beta-cryptoxanthin in the blood. If you supplement your diet regimen with pectin, the absorption of carotenoids can probably decrease.

Health Conditions

Medical conditions which can possibly be prevented with intake of carotenoids will include:

Prostate cancer
Cervical cancer
Cervical dysplasia
Chlamydia infection
Heart disease
Laryngeal cancer (cancer of the larynx)
Lung cancer
Male and female infertility
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Age-related macular degeneration
Angina pectoris
Rheumatoid arthritis
Skin cancer
Vaginal candidiasis

Beta-Carotene Dietary Supplement Forms

Beta-carotene can be obtained in dietary supplements in the forms of synthetic all-trans beta-carotene, both beta and alpha carotene derived from the algae called Dunaliella and also in the form of combined carotenes taken from palm oil.

But, you should take into account that because the findings of research studies for the purpose of assessing the health advantages of supplements equipped with beta-carotene are conflicting, the National Academy of Sciences suggested that caretonoid supplements should not be taken in high dosages except in cases where it becomes a method in the prevention of deficiency from vitamin A.

Posted on June 30, 2013 at 8:07 pm by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
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Biotin benefits

As a member of the B complex group of vitamins, Biotin plays an important role during the metabolism of fats and amino acids, cell growth and in the production of fatty acids. Originally, B vitamins were only thought as a single vitamin which is referred to as the vitamin B. Vitamin B7 which is known as Vitamin H sometimes was singled out during the earlier part of the 20th century. It is only lately that it has become well understood with regards to its function and its benefits.

Biotin Deficiency

Generally speaking, biotin deficiencies are not common but there are some conditions that will increase its possibility. If you are using antibiotics or medications in dealing with seizures, you can be prone to the deficiency. You can also be using up the body’s supply of biotin if you eat too much raw egg whites. You can even experience the lack of biotin if you are undergoing dialysis or use of IV feeding which do not integrate the use of biotin. What you are about to see below are some remarkable benefits in using biotin.

Biotin benefits

Biotin can provide you with healthy hair and fingernails and can enhance the skin’s vitality. Though a healthy person will not necessarily experience biotin deficiency, there are some common reasons why it is necessary to complement your diet. As previously mentioned, a person prescribed with anti-bacterial medications can have thinning of the hair because the medication being used will get rid of the intestinal bacteria which will aid of the production of biotin. The levels of biotin can be restored by proper intake of food or nutritional supplements. In case you have a deficiency, biotin can help in stopping the hair loss and can even be helpful in promoting hair growth.

In addition, biotin is claimed to be good to heal breakable nails and for some types of dermatitis. Cradle cap or seborrheic dermatitis to be precise is a typical, harmless and short-lived inflammatory skin condition which can induce flaky and scaly skin to form on oily areas like the scalp or the ear of a newborn. This will also be the cause of biotin deficiency which will most likely be resolved by adding some of the right foods to the diet of the baby.

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Biotin supplement

Biotin supplements are used in preventing or treating biotin deficiency.

Vitamins are compounds which are needed for the growth and health of a person. They are deemed necessary in only tiny amounts and are typically available in the foods you consume. Biotin is essential in the formation of fatty acids as well as glucose which can be used as fuels for the body. This is also significant for the metabolism of both amino acids and carbohydrates.
The deficiency of biotin is rare. But if it happens this could lead to heart problems, skin rash, hair loss and high levels of blood cholesterol.

There are several conditions which could increase your requirement for biotin. These are:

The claims by which biotin supplements are efficient for treating hair loss, eczema which is a kind of skin disorder or acne have not yet been proven.
Biotin supplements can be obtained without the need for prescription.

For the purpose of good health, it is vital that you have a diet that is balanced and varied. You need to follow carefully the diet program which your health care professional will recommend. You can even ask the health care professional for a record of all the appropriate foods in order to have specific vitamin and mineral needs. If you believe that you are not actually getting sufficient vitamins or minerals in the diet, the use of dietary supplement can be an option.

Biotin can be found in different foods such as cauliflower, bananas, cereals, carrots, liver, soy flour, yeast and salmon. The biotin content of the food will be reduced if cooked and preserved.

The intake of vitamins will not merely take the place of a good diet as well in providing energy. The human body requires other substances which can be found in food like fats, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. The vitamins will not be able to function well if there are no other foods being present.

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Biotin deficiency

Biotin deficiency is a nutritional disorder that is rare and can turn out to be serious or even dangerous if this is allowed to progress without treatment. This will occur in any person of gender, ancestry and age. Since the day-to-day requirement of biotin is low, biotin deficiency can occur rarely in healthy individuals. A lot of foods can already provide ample amounts of it, the intestinal bacteria is capable of synthesizing the small amounts of it and the body can effectively scavenge as well as recycle it from the wastes of the body. But the deficiency will be due to the consumption of raw egg whites during a period of many months to years. The egg whites have high levels of avidin which is a protein that will bind strongly the biotin. Once cooked, avidin will become denatured and will turn out to be non-toxic.

Symptoms of biotin deficiency

The initial indications for biotin deficiency are:
-Skin that is dry
-Seborrheic dermatitis
- Infections caused by fungi
-Presence of rashes which can include red and patchy which can be near to the mouth and is known as erthematous- periorofacial macular rash
-Fine and brittle hair
-Loss of hair or complete baldness and is termed as alopecia
If this is left untreated, some neurological symptoms can possibly develop and will include:
-Mild depression that could progress to deep lassitude and later on will develop to somnolence
-Alterations in the mental status
-Generalized muscular pains or myalgias
-Hyperesthesias as well as paresthesias

Biotin deficiency can be corrected easily by the use of biotin tablets which could be readily available and affordable. Modification in the diet can be required if excessive consumption of raw egg whites is responsible for biotin deficiency.

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm by admin · Permalink · Comments Closed
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