What Is Beta-Carotene?
Beta-carotene is a pigment found in plants that gives yellow and orange fruits and vegetables their color. It’s converted in the body to vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, skin and neurological function.
Vitamin A is found in two primary forms: active vitamin A and beta-carotene. Active vitamin A is called retinol, and it comes from animal-derived foods. This pre-formed vitamin A can be used directly by the body without needing to convert the vitamin first. Pro vitamin A carotenoids are different because they need to be converted to retinol by the body after they’re ingested. Beta-carotene is a type of carotenoid that’s found primarily in plants; it needs to be converted to active vitamin A before it can be utilized by the body. (1)