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Carotenoids are pigments that naturally occur in some vegetables and fruits. The most commonly consumed kinds of provitamin carotenoids can be turned into vitamin A in the intestines.

What Carotenoid Does For The Body

Carotenoids are antioxidants, preventing cells against free radicals, which can lead to cancer. Carotenoid consumption has also been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

Beta-carotene, lutein and zeanthaxin directly affect the health of the retina, leading to better vision and reduced incidence of blindness and degenerative eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Consumption of lycopene may reduce the incidence of breast and prostate cancer.

What happens if you don't have enough carotenoid: Carotenoid deficiency can cause eye problems, like night blindness, low vision and increased incidence of macular degeneration (a disease that causes blindness). Other symptoms include dry and itchy skin, increased incidence of pancreatitis, and diminished immune function.

What happens if you have too much: There are no severe known symptoms of carotenoid overdose, though excessive amounts of beta-carotene can turn the skin orange or yellowish.

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