Beta carotene is a type of pigment known as carotenoids. Carotenoids give approximately half of the vitamin A needed in the diet of most Americans. The human body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A which is an essential nutrient. Vitamin A has antioxidant properties which help protect cells from damage and slow the aging process. Beta-carotene can be found in many vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It can also be produced in a laboratory.
People have found beta-carotene useful for many different purposes such as decreasing the symptoms of asthma caused by exercise, decreasing the symptoms of heart disease, helping with cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, reducing depression, decreasing the incidence of epilepsy, reducing heartburn, decreasing high blood pressure, and helping with fertility. Beta-carotene has also been found useful for skin disorders like psoriasis and vitiligo. People who sunburn easily have used beta carotene to help reduce the risk of sunburn.