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Carotenes are bright yellow and red pigments found in all photosynthesized plants. There are over 500 different carotene compounds. In plants, carotenes are essential for the process of photosynthesis and protect the plants from free radicals. In humans and animals their role is to act as an antioxidant.

It is thought that it is better to get carotenes from natural food sources, as opposed to dietary supplements. Supplements can be found as beta-carotene, mixed carotenes, lycopene and lutein. Food sources range from leafy greens, carrots and sweet potatoes to apricots , tomatoes and yams.

Although there is no recommended daily dosage of carotenes, too much can result in a reddish/orange-ish color in the skin and too little can result in vitamin A deficiency.

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