Beta carotene is an antioxidant which is reputed to "preserve" body parts, thus being suitable for everything from cancer and heart disease to eye sight. Recent studies have shown that when it comes to cancer and heart disease the claims may not be true, and in fact for people who smoke, beta carotene may actually increase the risk.
As an antioxidant, beta carotene, reduces oxygen free radicals which may be involved in tissue damage.
Beta carotene in high doses can be stored in the body and lead to liver and skin problems. People who smoke appear to be at increased risk.
People should realize that beta carotene is readily available in fruits, vegetables, and grains, and dietary sources may be preferred.
It is unclear if beta carotene is involved in drug interactions.
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The relevant product monographs must be regarded as the appropriate sources of prescribing information.