Beta Carotene and
the Carotenoids Page

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
Send all comments or additions to:

If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary.   If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual.   You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this, or any other health topic.

Jump to:    Carotenoid Articles          Carotenoid Research

Acidophilus Alpha Lipoic Acid Antioxidants Beta Carotene

Bioflavonoids Co–Q10 GLA Ginkgo

Glucosamine Magnesium Omega-3 Acids Selenium

Soy Protein Vitamin B Antibiotics Iatrogenic

Conditions That Respond Well Alt-Med Approaches to Disease

Carotenoid Articles

The best known Carotenoids are Beta-Carotene, Lutein, and Lycopene. Beta-carotene has received a lot of attention as potential anti-cancer and anti-aging phytochemical. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals.   Lutein is an antioxidant which is believed to be an essential nutrient for normal vision. The protective role of lutein against eye damage is well document. Studies have also indicated that lutein improves heart health, protects our skin against UV damage, reduces diabetes-induced oxidative stress, and possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.   Lycopene is a very efficient antioxidant, which can neutralize oxygen derived free radicals. The oxidative damage caused by these free radicals has been linked to many degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, premature aging, cancer and cataracts. In many countries it is legally allowed to advertise foods containing tomato lycopene as "containing antioxidants for the maintenance and support of healthy cells".

Review the bottom of this page for information on the rest of the carotenoids.


Association of Serum Antioxidant Vitamins and Carotenoids
With Incident Alzheimer Disease and All-Cause Dementia
Among US Adults

Neurology 2022 (May 4); [EPUB]

Incident all-cause dementia was inversely associated with serum lutein+zeaxanthin and β-cryptoxanthin levels. Further studies with time-dependent exposures and randomized trials are needed to test neuroprotective effects of supplementing the diet with select carotenoids.

Carotenoids as Novel Therapeutic Molecules Against Neurodegenerative Disorders:
Chemistry and Molecular Docking Analysis

International J Molecular Sciences 2019 (Nov 7);   20 (22).   pii: E5553

Carotenoids are natural products with a high therapeutic potential against neurodegenerative diseases, especially AD. For this reason, it is important to further explore comprehensively, mechanistic basis of carotenoids as a new source of therapeutic compounds in the fight against this devastating neurodegenerative disease. In this paper, we discussed the diversity of carotenoids found in nature and their high potential as therapeutic molecules involved in preventing multi-faceted toxic pathways of Aβ. Carotenoids are widely distributed in nature and exist in a variety of different types. However, only a few carotenoids have been characterized for their neuroprotective activity. We consider carotenoids as powerful natural compounds with nutraceutical and antioxidant properties that are critical in the fight against AD. Furthermore, most carotenoids can cross the blood-brain barrier. Future studies are in progress to evaluate the neuroprotective activity of carotenoids and their derivatives.

Circulating Carotenoids, Mammographic Density, and Subsequent Risk
of Breast Cancer

Cancer Res 2009 (Dec 15);   69 (24):   9323-9329

Among women in the highest tertile of mammographic density, total carotenoids were associated with a 50% reduction in breast cancer risk (odds ratio, 0.5; 95% confidence interval, 0.3-0.8). Our results suggest that plasma levels of carotenoids may play a role in reducing breast cancer risk, particularly among women with high mammographic

Relationship of Serum Antioxidant Micronutrients and Sociodemographic
Factors to Cervical Neoplasia: A Case-control Study

Clin Chem Lab Med 2009;   47 (8):   1005–1012

Cervical cancer was found to be associated with older age, increased body mass index, and lower socioeconomic status as measured by education level and income. The mean serum concentrations of beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin plus lutein, retinol, alpha-tocopherol, and gamma-tocopherol of cervical cancer patients were significantly lower than those of control subjects. The results of this study show an inverse association between serum antioxidant micronutrient concentrations and the risk of cervical neoplasia. These results suggest that antioxidant micronutrients play a role in the prevention of cervical carcinogenesis.

A Randomized Trial of Beta Carotene Supplementation and
Cognitive Function in Men: The Physicians' Health Study II

Arch Intern Med 2007 (Nov 12);   167 (20):   2184–2190 ~ FULL TEXT

We added cognitive testing to the Physicians' Health Study II (PHSII), a randomized trial of beta carotene and other vitamin supplements for chronic disease prevention. The PHSII is a continuation of the Physicians' Health Study (PHS), which had randomized male participants to low-dose aspirin and beta carotene. Participants include those continuing their original beta carotene assignment from the PHS, begun in 1982. Among 4052 continuing participants from the PHS (mean treatment duration, 18 years), the mean global score was significantly higher in the beta carotene group than in the placebo group (mean difference in z scores, 0.047 standard units; P = .03). On verbal memory, men receiving long-term beta carotene supplementation also performed significantly better than the placebo group (mean difference in z scores, 0.063; P = .007).

Role of Male Factor in Early Recurrent Embryo Loss: Do Antioxidants Have Any Effect?
Fertil Steril 2009 (Aug);   92 (2):   565-71

Of the 17 men, 9 (53%) presented with an increased %DFI or TBARS. They were started on an antioxidant supplementation regimen. Of these nine men, six of their spouses became pregnant. All couples whose male partners accepted antioxidant supplementation achieved a successful pregnancy.

Astaxanthin, Canthaxanthin and Beta-carotene Differently Affect
UVA-induced Oxidative Damage and Expression of
Oxidative Stress-responsive Enzymes

Exp Dermatol 2009 (Mar);   18 (3):   222-31

Editorial Comment:.   This article is a perfect reminder that we can't rely on just ONE antioxidant, and expect the amazing results found when you eat a diet filled with fruits and vegetables. This is why you need to either eat a broad spectrum of antioxidants (carotenoids, flavonoids, Vitamins C, E, selenium, zinc etc) OR eat many servings of fruits and vegetables every day, to support ALL the various enzyme systems that reduce our risks of developing cancer and other diseases.

Beta-Carotene: The Controversy Continues
Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Dec);   5 (6):   530–545 ~ FULL TEXT

The safety of synthetic b-carotene supplements and the role of isomeric forms of b-carotene (synthetic all-trans versus "natural" cis-trans isomeric mixtures), in addition to the importance of the protective role of other carotenoids like lycopene and lutein, have become topics of debate in the scientific and medical communities. This review addresses the biochemistry and physiology of the cis versus trans isomers of b-carotene as well as relevant studies comparing the absorption and storage of the synthetic versus natural forms of b-carotene.

Natural Therapies for Ocular Disorders

[Red Diagonal Ball]   Part I: Diseases of the Retina
Alternative Medicine Review 1999 (Oct); 4 (5): 342–359 ~ FULL TEXT

During the past few decades numerous studies have been published on the efficacy of nutritional and botanical medicines in the prevention and treatment of ocular diseases, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, cataracts, glaucoma, and others. Part One of this review will explore the research on diseases of the retina, including macular degeneration, retinopathy, and retinitis pigmentosa.

[Red Diagonal Ball]   Part II: Cataracts and Glaucoma
Alternative Medicine Review 2001 (Apr); 6 (2): 141–166 ~ FULL TEXT

Part one of this article was published in the October 1999 issue of Alternative Medicine Review and discussed nutritional and botanical approaches to conditions of the retina. This second part covers alternative treatments for nonretinal disorders: senile cataracts, diabetic cataracts, and chronic open-angle glaucoma.

The "Comeback" Carotenoids
Nutrition Science News

Research shows that eating ample amounts of lycopene-rich tomatoes greatly reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene is the most potent carotenoid antioxidant, followed by beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Carotenoids Come of Age
Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals (March 2003)

Carotenoids are considered potential membrane antioxidants due to reactivity with singlet oxygen and oxygen free radicals. Singlet oxygen has been implicated in biological systems and is capable of damaging proteins, lipids and DNA and therefore is thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of numerous diseases. The anti-cancer activity of carotenoids may be, at least in part, attributable to its antioxidant activity insofar as oxygen radicals are related to the processes leading to human cancer.

Pioneering Astaxanthin
Nutrition Science News (Feb 2001)

During the late nineties, antioxidant research surged, particularly on carotenoids—that fat-soluble group of pigments widely distributed in plants and animals. Carotenoids have demonstrable antioxidant abilities and are thought to be important in helping to prevent numerous diseases. Some of the more exciting new research is being done on age-related macular degeneration. As a member of the carotenoid group xanthophylls, astaxanthin possesses oxygen in its chemical structure. Other xanthophylls include canthaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin. Some of the better-known carotenoids of other groups are beta-carotene (present in carrots), lycopene (in tomatoes) and lutein (in spinach). Unlike beta-carotene, astaxanthin lacks pro-vitamin A activity. [1]

Phytochemicals: Nutrients Whose Time Has Come
Nutrition Science News (Jul 2000)

Phytochemicals are a group of nutritive components found in herbs, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and spices. Animal foods contain a similar group of disease-preventing nutrients--the term zoochemical has been suggested for them. Phytochemicals and zoochemicals--unlike carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals--are not considered essential for life and have therefore been assigned quasi-nutrient status. Several disease-preventive benefits have been proposed for phytochemicals and zoochemicals.

Second Sight
Nutrition Science News (April 1999)

Colorful fruits and vegetables provide necessary nutrients to see late into life. Our eyes are called the windows to the soul. Besides offering a focal point to direct one's attention when talking with another person, eyes bring in more than 90 percent of the information entering the average human brain, according to some psychologists.

Preventing Macular Degeneration
Nutrition Science News (January 1998)

As each of us gets older, the faculty that most notably deteriorates is our vision. One optical problem receiving increasing attention today is "macular degeneration," an eye disease affecting the central part of the retina. Recent research suggests that carotenoids, particularly Lutein and Zeaxanthin, seem to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. You might also enjoy a similar article (called Second Sight) which discusses the impact antioxidants and carotenoids have on preventing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).


Carotenoid Research









Since 2-01-1998

Updated 5-16-2022

                  © 1995–2024 ~ The Chiropractic Resource Organization ~ All Rights Reserved