Please Pass the Beta Carotene!

John D Hirsch MD

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Manhattan Reefs
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Beta Carotene is, like Astaxanthin, a member of a fat soluble group of organic compounds known as carotenoids. It is a strong red dye and is produced exclusively by plants. Like Astaxanthin, they are also antioxidants and from a health benefit still the same work in progress as other carotenoids. They have no other nutritional value. They are considered a provitamin A precursor and again no surprise that they are produced in the marine environment by microalgae. D. Salina, a phytoplankton available in the trade has the highest levels if that is important.

There are two different types of Vitamin A. The first type, preformed Vitamin A, is found in meats, poultry, fish and dairy products. The second type is provitamin A and is found fruits, vegetables, and other plant based products. Vitamin A is critical for vision and supporting the immune system. The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplements is beta carotene.

So questions to ponder,
1. Does adding dyes to foods make your fish and corals healthier?
2. Does adding dyes to food make your fish prettier?
3. Do you think your current diet is deficient in carotenoids?
4. Do you think that sufficient beta carotene can be ingested from an all-natural varied diet to make you fish prettier and healthier?
5. Maybe the title should have been Please Pass on the Beta Carotene.