A nutritional pigment (and antioxidant) that can be used in the visual cycle of the eye. It is responsible for the orange color of carrots and other fruits and vegetables.

Beta-carotene is a nutritional pigment and antioxidant found in certain orange vegetables like carrots, and plays a role in the photosynthesis system in plants. In humans, it can be converted into a compound critical to the visual cycle (retinol). Beta-carotene can be stored in the liver and released as needed to form vitamin A. Beta-carotene (15 mg) is one component of the initial AREDS clinical trial recommended daily nutritional supplementation for slowing the progression of vision loss in AMD. Recently, beta-carotene was taken out of the supplement regime in the AREDS II clinical trial, due to its potential risk of promoting lung cancer in those who smoke. The same nutritional supplementation is not good for all retinal degenerative diseases. It's important to note that beta-carotene may not be an appropriate supplement for those who have RP (instead, 15,000 IU of vitamin A palmitate has been found to help prolong vision retention in individuals with RP). If you use nutritional supplementation, please consult with your personal physician and ophthalmologist as your personal health situation may require monitoring or a non-typical approach and nutritional supplements may interfere with prescribed medicines.