Beta-carotene is a member of the carotenoid family of plant pigments, which are responsible for the yellow, orange and red colours of certain fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene is also known as pro-vitamin A, as it is converted by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A only occurs in animal tissues (particularly liver, fish liver and dairy products), whereas beta-carotene occurs in plant tissues (particularly carrots). In addition to being a pre-cursor of vitamin A, beta carotene is important as an antioxidant. Beta-carotene and vitamin A are required for normal growth and development, for tissue maintenance and repair, and for bone and tooth formation.
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