Continuing Puzzle Over Beta Carotene And Vitamin A

"Researchers reveal ‘dark side’ to high beta-carotene intake

Consumption of high amounts of beta-carotene could pose a health risk to people by blocking the action of vitamin A rather than enhancing it, according to new research."

See the full article at

The article details how researchers tested eleven molecules derived from beta carotene in "conditions mimicking their metabolism and action in the body." Five of the molecules were found to inhibit rather than promote Vitamin A activity. So this leads to questions about the desirability of supplementation with significant levels of beta carotene and evoked the memory of a well-publicized negative finding about cancer and synthetic beta carotene supplementation by smokers (but not non-smokers) two decades ago.

I found two comments left at the story interesting :

" Get Vitamin A from meat then
The human body is not very good at converting beta-carotene into Vitamin A - one needs to be optimally nourished to do so. So eat liver once a week!
Posted by Sheila
09 May 2012 | 13h26"

" Madness Re-Visited
The "shockwaves" referred to over a dated trial which used synthetic beta-carotene on already sick people (smokers) simply illustrate that old myths die hard. There is no evidence that the intake of natural mixed carotenes is in any way harmful.

And as for the current supposedly negative findings (if verified) would it not be a more reasonable view that such molecules are simply a self-limiting factor placed in foods by a wise Creator? In this way a possible oversupply of Vitamin A in the body is prevented. It explains the well-known fact that a high intake of natural mixed carotenes results only in health benefits. Because the above seems self-evident, one needs to ask the following question.

Is this report (as presented) just another attempt by vested interests to tarnish everything natural and to promote their own agenda?
Posted by Edward Jackson
04 May 2012 | 01h19 "

I found the second comment especially cogent.

My multi-vitamin, like many other quality brands, contains no synthetic beta carotene, but only Betatene mixed carotenoids.

conceptualclarity conceptualclarity
51-55, M
1 Response May 11, 2012

What is your multi-vitamin and what kind of beta carotene does it have?