Better Than Beta-Carotene?
You probably know that Beta-carotene (BC) is a powerful antioxidant. Your body can use it to make vitamin A. And it’s linked to many health benefits. BC is one of several plant pigments related to vitamin A – called “carotinoids.”
But there’s another form of carotene that may provide as many – or even more – benefits than Beta-carotene. It’s called Alpha-carotene (AC)… and it has several advantages over its better-known cousin.
Like the Beta form, your body can make vitamin A from AC. But AC has an advantage. It’s easier for your body to absorb. In fact, a University of California study found your body absorbs it 53% better than BC.1 And that means AC may be more useful when your body needs vitamin A.
A Dutch study recently proved that AC offers many of the same heart-health benefits as BC.2 So being more “bio-available” gives AC an edge.
AC is linked to many other health benefits, too. For example…
- A study in the Journal of Hypertension reports that AC supports healthy blood pressure over the long term.3
- Researchers in the Netherlands found it helps promote better lung function in people with breathing trouble.4
- According to a recent dental journal report, AC even promotes better gum health in mature adults.5 And that’s important if you want to hold on to your teeth.
But the study you really want to know about is one that looked at the overall health of more than 15,000 adults here in the US.
In that study, researchers discovered a huge benefit of AC. People with the highest levels of this nutrient stay healthier much longer. In fact, the people with the highest levels of AC had 39% less risk of a wide variety of serious health problems.6
So how do you get more Alpha-carotene? Fortunately, it’s easy.
Only a few supplements contain this nutrient. But it’s abundant in foods. Look for yellow-orange vegetables, such as carrots, squash and pumpkin. It’s also available in many dark green veggies, too. Spinach, collards and broccoli are all good sources.
You’ll find AC in most foods that also contain BC. And that’s great, because they both can boost your health in so many ways.
If you don’t get enough veggies, don’t panic. It’s easy to add some of the carotinoids that may be missing from your diet. Just combine a good multivitamin/mineral with a natural “greens” formula.
With all its health benefits, the important thing is to be sure you’re getting plenty of Alpha-carotene – along with Nature’s other powerful health-boosters.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 Burri BJ, et al. β-Cryptoxanthin- and α-carotene-rich foods have greater apparent bioavailability than β-carotene-rich foods in Western diets. Br J Nutr. 2011 Jan;105(2):212-9.
2 Buijsse B, et al. Both alpha- and beta-carotene, but not tocopherols and vitamin C, are inversely related to 15-year cardiovascular mortality in Dutch elderly men. J Nutr. 2008 Feb;138(2):344-50.
3 Hozawa A, et al. Circulating carotenoid concentrations and incident hypertension: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study. J Hypertens. 2009 Feb;27(2):237-42.
4 Tsiligianni IG and van der Molen T. A systematic review of the role of vitamin insufficiencies and supplementation in COPD. Respir Res. 2010 Dec 6;11:171.
5 Linden GJ, et al. Antioxidants and periodontitis in 60-70-year-old men. J Clin Periodontol. 2009 Oct;36(10):843-9. Epub 2009 Aug 23.
6 Li C, et al. Serum α-Carotene Concentrations and Risk of Death Among US Adults: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-up Study. Arch Intern Med. Published online November 22, 2010.