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Carotene (Beta Carotene) Test

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About Our Carotene (Beta Carotene) Test

Note: Fasting is not required for this test.

Beta Carotene, a fat soluble nutrient, is a precursor to vitamin A, so having a beta carotene deficiency may lead to a vitamin A deficiency. Excessive vitamin A intake may lead to headaches, loss of appetite, nausea and diarrhea, skin changes and potential birth defects. Beta carotene is the form of vitamin A that is derived from plant sources.

This blood test is used to determine if an individual has Carotene (also known as beta carotene) deficiencies.


Vitamin A, also known as retinol, plays an important role in the formation of rhodopsin, a photoreceptor pigment in the retina of the eye. Vitamin A helps to maintain epithelial tissues. Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds, including beta-carotene.

Typically the liver stores 80%-90% of the body's vitamin A. Primary Vitamin A deficiency is usually caused by dietary deprivation for a long period of time, but it can also stem from fat malabsorption or liver disorders.

In children with complicated measles, vitamin A can shorten the duration of the disorder and reduce the severity of symptoms and risk of death. The younger the patient, the more severe the effects of vitamin A deficiency are. Mortality rate can exceed 50% in children with severe vitamin A deficiency.

Deficient vitamin A levels can lead to:

  • Impaired dark adaptation of the eyes/night blindness
  • Xerophthalmia, when the eyes fail to produce tears
  • Keratinization of the skin and mucous membranes in the respiratory, gastrointestinal tract, and urinary tracts
  • Drying, scaling, and follicular thickening of the skin and respiratory infections can result
  • In children-- growth retardation and infections

Carotenoids are absorbed better from vegetables when they are cooked or homogenized and served with some sort of fat, like oil. Major sources of vitamin A include:

  • Leafy, green vegetables
  • Yellow vegetables
  • Bright or deeply pigmented fruits

Vitamin A deficiency can be more prevalent in people who:

  • Have liver disorders
  • Have diets that lack fruits and vegetables
  • Are gastrointestinal surgery patients
  • Have digestive disorders like celiac disease or Crohn's disease
  • Have cystic fibrosis
  • Have chronic diarrhea
  • Have a bile duct obstruction or giardiasis
  • Have cirrhosis

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