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What Happens When Body Cannot Process Beta Carotene?

  • Uncategorized
  • Apr 27, 2021

Beta carotenes are a pigment found in all fruits and vegetables, among which sweet potatoes and carrots are considered to be extremely rich in this pigment. Various findings have shown that individuals with high blood levels of beta carotene had reduced concentration of harmful cholesterol which is the reason for the hardening of arteries that supply blood to the heart also known as atherosclerosis. This in turn has shown the minimized risk of ischemic heart disease. With the help of two new studies, it has been discovered that the body requires an active version of a specific enzyme so that all the benefits of beta carotene can be gained by the body. However, it has been seen that around 50% of people create a less active version of the aforementioned form of the enzyme as stated by Jaume Amengual, an assistant professor of personalized nutrition at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).

Low amounts of the specific enzyme, cause the body to be inefficient in producing Vitamin A form the beta carotene produced in vegetables and fruits. According to Professor Amengual, individuals need to consume Vitamin A form animal sources like cheese, oil, fish, dairy, and other similar sources. Through a study conducted on mice, it was understood that a specific gene variant possessed notably lower levels of cholesterol. The authors were able to calculate that people with one or more copies of the gene known as BCO1 might have a 9% reduction in LDL cholesterol levels. It is also necessary to note that this study was not done to evaluate the effectiveness of any specific intervention in terms of diet.

To gain an understanding of whether the BCO1 gene could have a direct result on the danger of atherosclerosis, a separate study was conducted. As a part of the results, it was seen that the production of cholesterol in the bloodstream is reduced due to the high levels of Vitamin A. Also, due to the presence of the enzyme which converts beta carotene into Vitamin A was able to minimize plasma cholesterol levels and developed a less severe variation of atherosclerosis.