Beta-carotene is an important vitamin A source for humans

J Nutr. 2010 Dec;140(12):2268S-2285S. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.119024. Epub 2010 Oct 27.


Experts in the field of carotenoids met at the Hohenheim consensus conference in July 2009 to elucidate the current status of β-carotene research and to summarize the current knowledge with respect to the chemical properties, physiological function, and intake of β-carotene. The experts discussed 17 questions and reached an agreement formulated in a consensus answer in each case. These consensus answers are based on published valid data, which were carefully reviewed by the individual experts and are justified here by background statements. Ascertaining the impact of β-carotene on the total dietary intake of vitamin A is complicated, because the efficiency of conversion of β-carotene to retinol is not a single ratio and different conversion factors have been used in various surveys and following governmental recommendations within different countries. However, a role of β-carotene in fulfilling the recommended intake for vitamin A is apparent from a variety of studies. Thus, besides elucidating the various functions, distribution, and uptake of β-carotene, the consensus conference placed special emphasis on the provitamin A function of β-carotene and the role of β-carotene in the realization of the required/recommended total vitamin A intake in both developed and developing countries. There was consensus that β-carotene is a safe source of vitamin A and that the provitamin A function of β-carotene contributes to vitamin A intake.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Vitamin A / administration & dosage*
  • beta Carotene / administration & dosage*


  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin A