Numerous studies indicate that carotenoids and their metabolites play a role in combating degrada-tive reactions that are harmful to human health. Most of these functions seem to be related to their antioxidant nature and ability to dissipate energy from light and free radical-generating reactions. Obviously much research is still required to shed light onto mechanisms involved in these protective functions. Other fascinating roles in nature are also being discovered, for example, the signaling of apparent good health and consequently good potential parenting in birds by the red coloration of beaks, which seems to serve as an attractant to prospective mates.

See also: Cancer: Epidemiology and Associations Between Diet and Cancer. Carotenoids: Epidemiology of Health Effects. Vitamin A: Biochemistry and Physiological Role.

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