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Beta-Carotene Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings

  • There is evidence of adverse effects from beta-carotene supplements in current heavy smokers.
    - Am J Clin Nutr 1997 Aug;66(2):427-37 -- Vitamins and minerals: efficacy and safety. -- Hathcock JN.

  • The combination of beta-carotene with ethanol results in hepatotoxicity. Moreover, in smokers who also consume alcohol, beta-carotene supplementation promotes pulmonary cancer and, possibly, cardiovascular complications. Thus ethanol, while promoting a deficiency of vitamin A also enhances its toxicity as well as that of beta-carotene. This narrowing of the therapeutic window for retinol and beta-carotene must be taken into account when formulating treatments aimed at correcting vitamin A deficiency, especially in drinking populations.
    - Am J Clin Nutr 1999 Jun;69(6):1071-85 -- Alcohol, vitamin A, and beta-carotene: adverse interactions, including hepatotoxicity and carcinogenicity. -- Leo MA, Lieber CS.

  • Beta-carotene may interact with prescription medications. Consult with your physician.

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  • last update: February 2014

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