Beta Carotene Best Food Sources: Dark Green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and tomatoes. Note: Beta Carotene natural form is comprised of two molecules. The synthetic form of Beta Carotene only has one molecule. Therefore, natural food sources are best.
The term carotene is used for several related substances having the formula C40H56. Carotene is an orange photosynthetic pigment important for photosynthesis. It is responsible for the orange colour of the carrot and many other fruits and vegetables. It contributes to photosynthesis by transmitting the light energy it absorbs to chlorophyll.
Chemically, carotene is a terpene, synthesized biochemically from eight isoprene units. It comes in two primary forms designated by characters from the Greek alphabet: alpha-carotene (α-carotene) and beta-carotene (β-carotene). Gamma, delta and epsilon (γ, δ and ε-carotene) also exist. Beta-carotene is composed of two retinyl groups, and is broken down in the mucosa of the small intestine by beta-carotene dioxygenase to retinol, a form of vitamin A. Carotene can be stored in the liver and converted to
vitamin A as needed, thus making it a provitamin.
Carotene is the substance in carrots, pumpkins, spinach and sweet potatoes that colors them orange and is the most common form of carotene in plants. Remember, it is always best to get your Beta Carotene from the plant sources mentioned above!