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Active Hydrogen Adrenal Extracts Alanine Alpha-Linolenic Acid Alpha-Lipoic Acid AMP Amylase Inhibitors Arginine Bee Pollen Beta Carotene Beta-glucan Betaine Beta-Sitosterol Biotin Borage Oil Boron Bovine Cartilage Bovine Colostrum Brewer's Yeast Bromelain Calcium Capsaicin Carnitine Carnosine Chitosan Chloride Chlorophyll Chondroitin Chromium CLA Cobalt Coenzyme Q10 Copper Creatine Cysteine DHA DHEA DMAE EGCG Evening Primrose Oil 5-HTP Fiber (Insoluble) Fiber (Soluble) Fish Oil Flavonoids Fluoride Folate Fumaric Acid GABA Gamma-Linolenic Acid Glucomannan Glucosamine Glutamic Acid Glutamine Glutathione Glycine Grape Seed Extract Histidine HMB Hydroxycitric Acid Indole Inosine Inositol Iodine Ipriflavone Iron Isoleucine Lactase Lecithin Leucine Lipase Lutein Lycopene Lysine Magnesium Malic Acid Manganese Mannose Melatonin Methionine Methoxyisoflavone Molybdenum MSM N-Acetyl Cysteine NADH Naringin Niacin Octacosanol Oligosaccharides Olive Leaf Extract Ornithine Oryzanol PABA Pancreatic Enzymes Pantothenic Acid Phenylalanine Phosphatidylserine Phosphorus Phytic Acid Policosanol Potassium Pregnenolone Probiotics Propolis Psyllium Pyridoxine Pyruvate Quercetin Resveratrol Retinol Riboflavin Ribose Royal Jelly SAMe Selenium Shark Cartilage Silicon Sodium Spirulina Spleen Extracts St. John's Wort Strontium Sulforaphane Sulfur Taurine Thiamine Tocopherol Tea Tree Oil Tyrosine Usnic Acid Valine Vanadium Vinpocetine Vitamin A Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B9 Vitamin B12 Vitamin C Vitamin D Vitamin H Vitamin K Whey Protein Xylitol Zinc
Abalone Shell (shi jue ming)
Abutilon Seed (dong kui zi)
Acanthopanax Bark (wu jia pi)
Achyranthes (niu xi)
Aconite (fu zi)
Acorus (shi chang pu)
Adenophora Root (nan sha shen)
Agkistrodon (bai hua she)
Agrimony (xian he cao)
Ailanthus Bark (chun pi)
Akebia Fruit (ba yue zha)
Albizzia Bark (he huan pi)
Albizzia Flower (he huan hua)
Alfalfa (medicago sativa)
Alisma (ze xie)
Aloe (lu hui)
Alum (bai fan)
Amber (hu po)
Ampelopsis (bai lian)
Andrographis (chuan xin lian)
Anemarrhena (zhi mu)
Antelope's Horn (ling yang jiao)
Apricot Seed (xing ren)
Areca Peel (da fu pi)
Areca Seed (bing lang)
Arisaema (tian nan xing)
Ark Shell (wa leng zi)
Arnebia (zi cao or ying zi cao)
Arnica (arnica montana)
Artichoke Leaves (Cynara scolymus)
Ash bark (qin pi)
Ashwagandha (withania somniferum)
Aster (zi wan)
Astragalus (huang qi)
Aurantium (zhi ke [qiao])
Bamboo Juice (zhu li)
Bamboo Shavings (zhu ru)
Belamcanda Rhizome (she gan)
Benincasa Peel (dong gua pi)
Benincasa Seed (dong gua xi/ren)
Benzoin (an xi xiang)
Bilberry (yue ju)
Biota Leaf (ce bai ye)
Biota Seed (bai zi ren)
Bitter Melon (ku gua)
Bitter Orange Peel (ju hong)
Black Cohosh (sheng ma)
Black Plum (wu mei)
Black Sesame Seed (hei zhi ma)
Bletilla (bai ji)
Boneset (ze lan)
Borax (peng sha)
Borneol (bing pian)
Bottle Brush (mu zei)
Buddleia (mi meng hua)
Buffalo Horn (shui niu jiao)
Bulrush (pu huang)
Bupleurum (chai hu)
Burdock (niu bang zi)
Camphor (zhang nao)
Capillaris (yin chen hao)
Cardamon Seed (sha ren)
Carpesium (he shi)
Cassia Seed (jue ming zi)
Catechu (er cha)
Cat's Claw (uncaria tomentosa)
Cephalanoplos (xiao ji)
Celosia Seed (qing xiang zi)
Centipede (wu gong)
Chaenomeles Fruit(mu gua)
Chalcanthite (dan fan)
Chebula Fruit (he zi)
Chinese Gall (wu bei zi)
Chinese Raspberry (fu pen zi)
Chrysanthemum (ju hua)
Cibotium (gou ji)
Cinnabar (zhu sha)
Cinnamon (rou gui or gui zhi)
Cistanche (rou cong rong)
Citron (xiang yuan)
Citrus Peel (chen pi)
Clam Shell (hai ge ke/qiao)
Clematis (wei ling xian)
Cloves (ding xiang)
Cnidium Seed (she chuang zi)
Codonopsis (dang shen)
Coix Seed (yi yi ren)
Coptis (huang lian)
Cordyceps (dong chong)
Coriander (hu sui)
Corn Silk (yu mi xu)
Cornus (shan zhu yu)
Corydalis (yan hu suo)
Costus (mu xiang)
Cranberry (vaccinium macrocarpon)
Cremastra (shan ci gu)
Croton Seed (ba dou)
Curculigo (xian mao)
Cuscuta (tu si zi)
Cuttlefish Bone (hai piao xiao)
Cymbopogon (xiang mao)
Cynanchum (bai qian)
Cynomorium (suo yang)
Cyperus (xiang fu)
Dalbergia (jiang xiang)
Damiana (turnera diffusa)
Dandelion (pu gong ying)
Deer Antler (lu rong)
Dendrobium (shi hu)
Devil's Claw (harpagophytum procumbens)
Dianthus (qu mai)
Dichroa Root (chang shan)
Dittany Bark (bai xian pi)
Dong Quai (tang kuei)
Dragon Bone (long gu)
Dragon's Blood (xue jie)
Drynaria (gu sui bu)
Dryopteris (guan zhong)
Earthworm (di long)
Eclipta (han lian cao)
Elder (sambucus nigra or sambucus canadensis)
Elsholtzia (xiang ru)
Ephedra (ma huang)
Epimedium (yin yang huo)
Erythrina Bark (hai tong pi)
Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus)
Eucommia Bark (du zhong)
Eupatorium (pei lan)
Euphorbia Root (gan sui or kan sui)
Euryale Seed (qian shi)
Evodia (wu zhu yu)
Fennel (xiao hui xiang)
Fenugreek (hu lu ba)
Fermented Soybeans (dan dou chi)
Flaxseed (ya ma zi)
Fo Ti (he shou wu)
Forsythia (lian qiao)
Frankincense (ru xiang)
Fritillaria (chuan bei mu)
Gadfly (meng chong)
Galanga (gao liang jiang)
Galena (mi tuo seng)
Gambir (gou teng)
Gardenia (zhi zi)
Garlic (da suan)
Gastrodia (tian ma)
Gecko (ge jie)
Gelatin (e jiao)
Genkwa (yuan hua)
Germinated Barley (mai ya)
Ginger (gan [sheng] jiang)
Ginkgo Biloba (yin xing yi)
Ginseng, American (xi yang shen)
Ginseng, Asian (dong yang shen)
Ginseng, Siberian (wu jia shen)
Glehnia (sha shen)
Glorybower (chou wu tong)
Goldenseal (bai mao liang)
Gotu Kola (luei gong gen)
Green Tea (lu cha)
Gymnema (gymnema sylvestre)
Gynostemma (jiao gu lan)
Gypsum (shi gao)
Halloysite (chi shi zhi)
Hawthorn (shan zha)
Hemp Seed (huo ma ren)
Homalomena (qian nian jian)
Honey (feng mi)
Honeysuckle Flower (jin yin hua)
Honeysuckle Stem (ren dong teng)
Houttuynia (yu xing cao)
Huperzia (qian ceng ta)
Hyacinth Bean (bai bian dou)
Hyssop (huo xiang)
Ilex (mao dong qing)
Imperata (bai mao gen)
Indigo (qing dai)
Inula (xuan fu hua)
Isatis Leaf (da qing ye)
Isatis Root (ban lan gen)
Java Brucea (ya dan zi)
Jujube (da zao)
Juncus (deng xin cao)
Kadsura Stem (hai feng teng)
Katsumadai Seed (cao dou kou)
Kelp (kun bu)
Knotweed (bian xu)
Knoxia root (hong da ji)
Kochia (di fu zi)
Lapis (meng shi)
Leech (shui zhi)
Leechee Nut (li zhi he)
Leonorus (yi mu cao)
Lepidium Seed (ting li zi)
Licorice (gan cao)
Ligusticum (chuan xiong)
Ligustrum (n zhen zi)
Lily Bulb (bai he)
Limonite (yu liang shi)
Lindera (wu yao)
Litsea (bi cheng qie)
Lobelia (ban bian lian)
Longan (long yan hua [rou])
Lophatherum (dan zhu ye)
Loquat Leaf (pi pa ye)
Lotus Leaf (he ye)
Lotus Node (ou jie)
Lotus Seed (lian zi)
Lotus Stamen (lian xu)
Luffa (si gua luo)
Lycium Bark (di gu pi)
Lycium Fruit (gou qi zi)
Lygodium (hai jin sha)
Lysimachia (jin qian cao)
Magnetite (ci shi)
Magnolia Bark (hou po)
Magnolia Flower (xin yi hua)
Maitake (grifola frondosa)
Marigold (c. officinalis)
Massa Fermentata (shen qu)
Milk Thistle (silybum marianum)
Millettia (ji xue teng)
Mint (bo he)
Mirabilite (mang xiao)
Morinda Root (ba ji tian)
Mugwort Leaf (ai ye)
Mulberry Bark (sang bai pi)
Mulberry Leaf (sang ye)
Mulberry Twig (sang zhi)
Mullein (jia yan ye)
Musk (she xiang)
Myrrh (mo yao)
Notoginseng (san qi)
Notopterygium (qiang huo)
Nutmeg (rou dou kou)
Oldenlandia (bai hua she she cao)
Omphalia (lei wan)
Onion (yang cong)
Ophicalcite (hua rui shi)
Ophiopogon (mai dong)
Oroxylum Seed (mu hu die)
Oryza (gu ya)
Oyster Shell (mu li)
Passion Flower (passiflora incarnata)
Patrinia (bai jiang cao)
Pau D'Arco (tabebuia avellanedae)
Peach Seed (tao ren)
Pearl (zhen zhu [mu])
Perilla Leaf (su ye)
Perilla Seed (su zi)
Perilla Stem (su geng)
Persimmon (shi di)
Pharbitis Seed (qian niu zi)
Phaseolus (chi xiao dou)
Phellodendron (huang bai)
Phragmites (lu gen)
Picrorhiza (hu huang lian)
Pinellia (ban xia)
Pine Knots (song jie)
Pipe Fish (hai long)
Plantain Seed (che qian zi)
Platycodon (jie geng)
Polygala (yuan zhi)
Polygonatum (huang jing)
Polyporus (zhu ling)
Poppy Capsule (ying su qiao)
Poria (fu ling)
Prickly Ash Peel (hua jiao)
Prinsepia Seed (rui ren/zi)
Prunella (xia ku cao)
Prunus Seed (yu li ren)
Pseudostellaria (tai zi shen)
Psoralea (bu gu zhi)
Pueraria (ge gen)
Pulsatilla (bai tou weng)
Pumice (fu hai shi)
Pumpkin Seed (nan gua zi)
Purslane (ma chi xian)
Pyrite (zi ran tong)
Pyrrosia Leaf (shi wei)
Quisqualis (shi jun zi)
Radish (lai fu zi)
Realgar (xiong huang)
Red Atractylodes (cang zhu)
Red Clover (trifolium pratense)
Red Ochre (dai zhe shi)
Red Peony (chi shao)
Red Sage Root (dan shen)
Rehmannia (shu di huang)
Reishi (ling zhi)
Rhubarb (da huang)
Rice Paper Pith (tong cao)
Rose (mei gui hua)
Rosemary (mi die xiang)
Safflower (hong hua)
Saffron (fan hong hua)
Sandalwood (tan xiang)
Sanguisorba Root (di yu)
Sappan Wood (su mu)
Sargent Gloryvine (hong teng)
Saw Palmetto (ju zong lu)
Schefflera (qi ye lian)
Schisandra (wu wei zi)
Schizonepeta (jing jie)
Scirpus (san leng)
Scopolia (S. carniolica Jacq.)
Scorpion (quan xie)
Scrophularia (xuan shen)
Scutellaria (huang qin)
Sea Cucumber (hai shen)
Sea Horse (hai ma)
Seaweed (hai zao)
Selaginella (shi shang bai)
Senna (fan xie ye)
Shiitake (hua gu)
Siegesbeckia (xi xian cao)
Siler Root (fang feng)
Slippery Elm (ulmus fulva)
Smilax (tu fu ling)
Smithsonite (lu gan shi)
Sophora Flower (huai hua mi)
Sophora Root (ku shen)
Spirodela (fu ping)
Stellaria (yin chai hu)
Stemona (bai bu)
Stephania (fang ji [han])
Sweet Annie (qing hao)
Teasel Root (xu duan)
Tiger Bone (hu gu)
Torreya Seed (fei zi)
Tortoise Plastron (gui ban)
Tremella (bai mu er)
Trichosanthes Fruit (gua lou)
Trichosanthes Root (tian hua fen)
Trichosanthes Seed (gua lou ren)
Tsaoko Fruit (cao guo)
Turmeric (jiang huang)
Turtle Shell (bie jia)
Tussilago (kuan dong hua)
Urtica (xun ma)
Uva ursi (arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Vaccaria Seed (wang bu lui xing)
Valerian (jie cao)
Veratrum (li lu)
Viola (zi hua di ding)
Vitex (man jing zi)
Walnut (hu tao ren)
Watermelon (xi gua)
White Atractylodes (bai zhu)
White Mustard Seed (bai jie ze)
White Peony (bai shao)
Wild Asparagus (tian men dong)
Windmill Palm (zong lu pi/tan)
Xanthium (cang er zi)
Zedoary (e zhu)

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Beta Carotene

What is beta carotene? Why do we need it?

Beta carotene is an antioxidant, a substance that minimizes the damage to the body caused by free radicals. It is present in plants (giving them their pigment), and is converted by the body into vitamin A.

In addition to its naturally occurring form, some manufacturers also make synthetic beta carotene, but this form should probably be avoided until research can prove its effectiveness.

Studies have shown that beta carotene can protect the body from developing a variety of harmful conditions. It may help improve vision in some people with poor sight, and help people who suffer from night blindness. It also boosts the immune system, and can help the body fight off infections. Specifically, beta carotene can guard against heart disease, and prevent certain forms of cancer and many precancerous conditions. Research using natural beta carotene has shown that it can help prevent the symptoms of asthma in some people while performing exercise. Synthetic beta carotene does not appear to have antioxidant properties.

How much beta carotene should I take?

The typical beta carotene supplement contains approximately 25,000 international units, or 15 milligrams. Some people may take amounts as high as 60 mg per day. It can be obtained by eating certain types of vegetables or supplements.

What forms of beta carotene are available?

Beta carotene can be found in dark green and orange-yellow vegetables such as carrots, cantaloupe and broccoli. For green vegetables, the darker the color, the higher the level of beta carotene present.

What can happen if I take too much beta carotene? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Because the body excretes any beta carotene that it doesn't use, it is virtually impossible to overdose on it. However, patients who take extremely high amounts of beta carotene for extended periods of time may experience a yellowing or orange tint to the skin, particularly on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. If this occurs, consult a health care provider; the color will eventually fade with decreased beta carotene intake.

Research has shown that beta carotene supplements may actually increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. As such, beta carotene, either in natural or synthetic form, should not be consumed by smokers, and synthetic forms of the substance should be avoided altogether. Animal research suggests that beta carotene, combined with heavy alcohol consumption, may cause liver damage; therefore, alcoholics or people who take alcohol on a daily basis should not take beta carotene supplements. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking beta carotene or any other dietary supplement or herbal remedy.


References

  • Hennekens CH, Burning JE, Manson JE, et al. Lack of effect of long-term supplementation with beta carotene on the incidence of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334:1145-9.
  • Lee IM, Cook NR, Manson JE, et al. Beta-carotene supplementation and incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease: The Womens Health Study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1999;91:2102-6.
  • Leo MA, Lieber CS. Alcohol, vitamin A, and beta-carotene: adverse interactions, including hepatotoxicity and carcinogenicity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999;69:1071-85.
  • Neuman I, Nahum H, Ben-Amotz A. Prevention of exercise-induced asthma by a natural isomer mixture of beta-carotene. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1999;82:549-53.
  • Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, et al. Effects of a combination of beta carotene and vitamin A on lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334:1150-5.
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