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Carotenoids are generally regarded as safe, based primarily on studies with beta-carotene. Increased consumption of carotenoids may cause to the skin to turn orange or yellow—a condition known as “carotenodermia.” This occurrence is completely benign and is unrelated to jaundice—the yellowing of the skin that can result from liver disease or other causes.
Until more is known, people especially smokers should not supplement with synthetic beta-carotene. Two double-blind studies have shown that supplementation with isolated synthetic beta-carotene may increase the risk of lung cancer in people who smoke.1, 2 Moreover, three of four studies have found small increases in the risk of heart disease in people assigned to take synthetic beta-carotene compared with those assigned to take placebo.3, 4, 5, 6
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.