Vitamin A or beta-carotene? Everything you need to know.

Karotten auf orangem Hintergrund

We are often asked whether vitamin A and beta-carotene are the same thing. As the question cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no", we have created the following article for you.

Is vitamin A and beta-carotene the same thing?
Beta-carotene is a provitamin A, which means that it can be converted into vitamin A in the body as needed. It belongs to the carotenoid family, which are natural pigments found in plants. It is these pigments that give many fruits and vegetables their characteristic colors. Two forms of beta-carotene occur in nature: trans-beta-carotene and cis-beta-carotene.

Note: Vitamin A as retinol is prohibited in food supplements!
According to Swiss legislation, only beta-carotene and no retinol may be used as a vitamin A compound in food supplements. The maximum amount of 1360 µg vitamin A permitted for adults now corresponds to 8.2 mg beta-carotene. The reason for this: your safety! Retinol is an active form of vitamin A and can cause acute poisoning and chronic damage if overdosed. This is not possible with beta-carotene, as your body converts it into vitamin A itself and as required.

Beta-carotene is a fascinating carotenoid that plays an important role in the world of nutrition and health. Let's delve deeper into the world of this nutrient and understand why it is so significant.

Sources of beta-carotene: Where can you find it?
Beta-carotene is present in a wide range of foods, but some stand out for their particularly high levels:
Carrots: Carrots are perhaps the best-known source of beta-carotene. Not only are they rich in this carotenoid, but they are also easy to incorporate into your diet.
Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are another nutrient-rich food that contains beta-carotene. They are an excellent choice to increase your daily intake.
Spinach: Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are also rich in beta-carotene and also provide other important nutrients.
Mangoes: Among fruits, mangoes are an exotic option that not only provide beta-carotene but also many other vitamins and minerals.
Pumpkin: Pumpkin, whether in soups or casseroles, is a great source of beta-carotene and can bring an autumnal variety to your diet.

The role of beta-carotene in the body: Why is it important?
Beta-carotene is not only a pigment, but also has a crucial function in the body. It is converted into vitamin A, which is essential for various aspects of our health:

  • Eyes: Vitamin A helps to maintain normal vision.
  • Immune system: Vitamin A contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.
  • Skin: Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and mucous membranes.
  • General well-being: Vitamin A contributes to normal iron metabolism and has a function in cell specialization.

The conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A
The conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A, also known as carotenoid metabolism, is a complex biochemical process that takes place in our body. This process allows us to obtain vitamin A from plant sources, as true vitamin A (retinol) is mainly found in animal products such as liver, egg yolk and dairy products.

The process of converting beta-carotene into vitamin A takes place in several steps:

  • Absorption: beta-carotene from our food is absorbed in the small intestine. The fat solubility of beta-carotene requires that it is ingested together with fats to facilitate absorption.
  • Transport: Once absorbed, beta-carotene is bound to proteins to transport it in the bloodstream. These proteins carry the carotenoids to the various tissues and organs of the body.
  • Conversion: The actual conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A takes place in the liver. Here, beta-carotene is broken down by enzymes into two molecules of retinal (a precursor of retinol).
  • Formation of retinol: The retinal is then converted to retinol, which is the biologically active form of vitamin A. This retinol can now be used in the body to fulfill various functions.
  • Use: Retinol is used in various tissues and organs of the body to enable important functions such as synthesizing rhodopsin (a light-sensitive protein in the photoreceptors of the eyes), regulating cell growth and supporting the immune system.

Why is this conversion important?
The conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A is crucial as vitamin A is required for many vital functions in the body. Since vitamin A is limited in animal sources, beta-carotene from plant sources is an important supplement, especially for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. It allows them to meet their vitamin A needs without relying on animal products.

In customized supplements from, beta-carotene can be a valuable addition to ensure you meet your individual vitamin A needs. These supplements offer a convenient way to efficiently ensure your supply of this important nutrient.

The conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A is a complex biochemical process that takes place in the body. This process makes it possible to obtain vitamin A from plant sources and is crucial for well-being and many functions in the body. Beta-carotene in customized supplements from can help to meet individual vitamin A requirements.

You might also be interested in this:

Back to blog

1 comment

Spannend, wusste nicht, dass Retinol in NEM verboten ist, macht aber durchaus Sinn.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Tailored precisely to you!

Every indyvit is unique, precisely tailored to your needs and always freshly produced. Made in Switzerland.

Configure it yourself, take the questionnaire, or first order a blood test and then receive a report along with recommended formulas.

To the 3 options
1 of 2