Carotene: The Most Common Antioxidants
A carotene is one of four antioxidants that are vital for your general health and wellbeing. First discovered in carrots, where they got their name, carotene compounds are fat (lipid) soluble, known as hydrophobic antioxidants, and are what give many fruits and vegetables their color. Carotene compounds are important to your health because they are precursors for vitamin A, which means that you need to have carotene in your body in order to produce this vital nutrient.
There are four carotene compounds that are found in many of the foods we eat:
Chances are you have heard of beta-carotene before, but maybe not the others. This is because beta-carotene and alpha-carotene are often found in the same foods and can work together in the production of vitamin A, while gamma and delta-carotene are less prevalent in the same foods, but just as important. All of the carotene compounds are needed in order to produce vitamin A and other important nutrients.
Many antioxidant supplements contain carotene compounds, most often large amounts of beta-carotene. Those with a balanced diet who eat plenty of green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables usually get more than enough carotene. However, food allergies or poor diets can cause low carotene levels that may be benefited by supplementation.
If you suspect you may not be getting enough carotene in your diet, speak with your health care provider to learn more about how supplementation or changes in diet may be able to help you achieve optimum health.