Retinol and Beta-carotene are, for all practical purposes,
just different names for Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble solid terpene
alcohol. There are two forms of Vitamin A: A1 and A2. A1
(also called Retinol) is hydrolyzed in the body from carotenoids, mainly
beta-carotene, that occurs in green leafy vegetables, green and yellow fruits
and vegetables. A1, already hydrolyzed, is available in eggs, dairy
products, liver and fish oil. A2 occurs in some freshwater fish. A1
and A2 are differentiated by observing their absorption of UV light, but for all
practical, nutritional, purposes they are the same.
Vitamin A promotes skeletal growth (forms strong
teeth and bones) and a healthy skin. It is also involved in the formation of
pigmentation in the eyes which improves acuity especially at night. Vitamin A is
also a major contributor to maintaining a healthy immune system (hence the
alternative name: anti-infection vitamin) as well as playing a role in wound
Beta Carotene is one of the more significant carotenoids as it is readily
converted in the digestive system of the body to Vitamin A. Beta-carotene is a
very powerful anti-oxidant that is needed to destroy free radicals (molecules
that damage healthy cells thereby accelerating the ageing process and increasing
the possibility of contracting many diseases).
Carotenoids is the largest group in the
Tetraterpenes. Carotenoids are responsible for the red to yellow pigmentation in
vegetables and fruit. A number of the over 500 carotenoids are
pro-vitamins and are converted to vitamin A in the digestive process.
carotenoids have been found to have antioxidant properties and help in the
control of free radicals. There is also some that believe that some of the
carotenoids are also active against some cancer cells although this aspect is
still being researched.