Since carotene itself is non-toxic, even in large quantities, there is no complications associated with excessive consumption of carotene-rich foods. Numerous ingested substances are rich in carotenoids. There are several terms that are associated with carotenemia and are often used interchangeably. There is evidence to suggest that overuse of beta-carotene supplements on the other hand, is associated with an increase risk of cancer. Canthaxanthin has been used in over-the-counter “tanning pills” in the United States and Europe, but is not currently Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for this purpose in the United States because of its adverse effects. Carotenemia will NOT present with the following symptoms : Picture from Dermatology Atlas courtesy of Samuel Freire da Silva, M.D.
One of the common forms in the human diet, beta-carotene, is converted to vitamin A. Diabetes, hypothyroidism, and liver and kidney disease may alter carotene levels in the body and lead to physical symptoms. Although it can occur in any age group, it is more commonly seen in young children and vegetarians in particular. Carotene can cause a discoloration of the skin when present in large amounts within the body. It is important to note that jaundice describes a clinical presentation and is not a disease on its own. Carrots are by the far the most common cause. Carotene is not toxic to humans and is part of a healthy diet. Carotenemia is a harmless condition and will ease with just dietary change alone.