In the body, beta-carotene converts into vitamin A (retinal). We need vitamin A for good vision and eye health, for a strong immune system, and for healthy skin and mucous membranes.(Getting high amounts of either vitamin A or beta-carotene from food, not from supplements, is safe.) Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. It protects the body from damaging molecules called free radicals. Free radicals damage cells through a process known as oxidation. Over time, this damage can lead to a number of chronic illnesses. Converted to vitamin A in the liver, beta carotene is a fat-soluble pigment that is one of the most active single oxygen free radical deterrents and scavengers. Its powerful antioxidant activity protects cells from the damaging effects of free radicals, such as those from environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides, etc.
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