Beta-carotene belongs to a family of natural chemicals known as carotenes which is widely found in plants, fruits and vegetables which are orange red in colour.
Beta-carotene is used by the body to make retinol, which is required for healthy vision. As excessive amounts of dietary vitamin A is toxic, beta carotene is a safer supplement because the body will only convert the need amounts of carotene into vitamin A, thus not poisoning the body. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and protects the body by reacting with free radicals to prevent oxidation.
Beta-carotene is also used to treat sun sensitivity and Scleroderma. However, people are known to suffer from side effects when taking excessive amounts of beta-carotene. These effects include skin discolouration, bruising and joint pains.