Unlike supplements, foods rich in beta-carotene pose no lung cancer risk.
Well, that settles it: I now have no intentions of giving up my morning goji berry habit.
Synthetic beta-carotene supplements have been found to increase the risk of both colorectal and lung cancer in smokers, especially those who also drink alcohol. A study published by an international team in the January 2004 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention indicates that beta-carotene consumed as part of whole foods has no such negative effects.
Translation: do not take beta-carotene supplements if you smoke &/or drink on a regular basis, but do eat well.
Carotenoids may play a role in the prevention of the following health conditions:
- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Angina pectoris
- Cervical cancer
- Cervical dysplasia
- Chlamydial infection
- Heart disease
- Laryngeal cancer (cancer of the larynx)
- Lung cancer
- Male and female infertility
- Prostate cancer
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Skin cancer
- Vaginal candidiasis
Statistically speaking, smokers and drinkers eat fewer foods that contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene. Also, researchers suspect that cigarette smoke destroys carotenoids. However, if you do smoke or drink, use carotenoid supplements with caution
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