Chemical Components

Beta-carotene comes in natural and synthetic forms, with the natural form being derived mainly from algal sources and consisting of roughly equal amount of 9-c/s and all-trans isomers, with small amounts of the 13-c/s isomer. Synthetic beta-carotene is primarily composed of the all-trans isomer with small residues of the 13-c/s isomer (PDRHealth 2005). Although all-trans beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, which plays an essential role in vision, growth, reproduction, immune function and maintenance of the skin and mucous membranes (see Vitamin A monograph), the 9-c/s isomer is not converted into vitamin A but does act as an antioxidant (Ben-Amotz & Levy 1996).

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