Recent findings have linked a carotenoid called beta-cryptoxanthin to a reduced risk of lung cancer. According to several epidemiological studies, β-cryptoxanthin may have chemoprotective effects. β-cryptoxanthin may also have a number of other potential benefits. it has natural antioxidant properties and studies have also found that it could help reduce the risk of heart disease and treat inflammation.
If you would like to find out more about β-cryptoxanthin and what it can do for your health, this article will help.
What is Beta-Cryptoxanthin?
Beta-cryptoxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid pigment which is closely related to β-carotene. It is found in a variety of plants and fruits including papaya, orange rind, apples. It has also been isolated from flowers belonging to the Physalis genus as well as butter, egg yolk and the blood serum of bovines.
Cryptoxanthin is regarded as a provitamin A because the human body converts beta-cryptoxanthin to retinol. As is the case with many other carotenoids, beta-cryptoxanthin has antioxidant properties. These properties help prevent damage to DNA and cells cause by free radicals. The compound can also help repair cellular damage caused by oxidative stress.
Where is Beta-crytoxanthin Found?
Beta-cryptoxanthin is a phytochemical and is present in a number of fruit and vegetables. Some of the best plant based sources of the compound include :
- bell peppers
It can also be found in yellow-colored animal products like butter and egg yolk.
Beta-Cryptoxanthin : A Powerful Carotenoid
Beta-cryptoxanthin has a number of properties that make it an important nutrient for your health. These are some of the reasons why you should be thinking about it :
Strong Antioxidant Properties
All carotenoids are known for their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants play an important role in human health. they are linked to disease prevention and are known to protect against the damage caused by free radicals.
Precursor to Vitamin A
As well as its excellent antioxidant properties, beta-cryptoxanthin works as a precursor to vitamin A and is therefore known as a provitamin. Studies have confirmed that beta-cryptoxanthin gets converted to retinol in the body.
Good Source of Vitamin A
Because it acts as a precursor to vitamin A, it is also a very good source of the vitamin. Vitamin A plays a number of extre4mely important roles in the human body. Some of its many functions include improved vision, improved immune health and embryonic development. It also plays a major role in tissue regeneration.
The Health Benefits of Beta-Cryptoxanthin
According to observational and animal studies, beta-cryptoxanthin may have chemopreventive effects. Animal studies and laboratory studies have found that the compound can help reduce both the number and severity of tumors in lung cancer models.
Moreover, the researchers have found that these results can be attained by consuming beta-cryptoxanthin-rich foods in relatively modest amounts.
A study, published in 2016, examined the effect of of beta-cryptoxanthin on mice with lung tumors as a result of exposure to nicotine. The mice were fed beta-cryptoxanthin for two weeks before and 16 weeks after being given a high dose of a carcinogen called NNK.
The dose of β-cryptoxanthin given to the mice was the equivalent of consuming a tangerine or a cup of bell peppers each day.
The results were extremely promising. The researchers found that the mice given β-cryptoxanthin developed an average of between 50 and 60% fewer tumors compared with mice not given the compound.
In laboratory experiments conducted at the same time, human cancer cells treated with β-cryptoxanthin had a significant reduction in invasive capacity. (1)
According to research team leader Xiang-Dong Wang, M.D., Ph.D :
“For smokers, tobacco product users or individuals at higher risk for tobacco smoke exposure, our results provide experimental evidence that eating foods high in BCX may have a beneficial effect on lung cancer risk, as suggested by previous epidemiological studies. We emphasize that the best way to get BCX is from food, which include other nutrients that can have additive or complementary effects,”
These findings corroborated a number of epidemiological studies which found a link between high β-cryptoxanthin intake and lower lung cancer risk in smokers. (2)
According to the study, β-cryptoxanthin likely reduces the number and invasiveness of tumors through inhibiting production of a nicotine receptor called alpha7 nAChR.
Previous studies had also found that β-cryptoxanthin helped decrease lung inflammation caused by cigarette smoke as well as nicotine induced emphysema.
Beta cryptoxanthin might help improve heart health by reducing the risk of common heart disease like atherosclerosis but there is not a great deal of evidence to go on.
A number of observational studies have indicates that consuming carotenoids in general from fresh fruit and veg might decrease mortality rates linked to heart disease. However, there is not a great deal of evidence to show a link between individual carotenoids and cardiovascular health.
When it comes to the heart health benefits of beta cryptoxanthin in particular, hard evidence is still lacking. However, one review that was discussing the results of a prior observational study on Atherosclerosis risk factor did make an interesting note.
The review noted that there was an inverse relationship between serum beta cryptoxanthin levels and the incidence of atherosclerosis. (3)
Previous studies have also indicated that a high intake of beta cryptoxanthin may reduce the risk of developing angina pectoris. (4)
More studies are necessary on the role beta cryptoxanthin and other carotenoids play in heart health and disease prevention before firm conclusions can be drawn.
Arthritis and Inflammation
Beta-cryptoxanthin may help treat a broad range of inflammatory disorders including rheumatoid arthritis.
Beta-cryptoxanthin is a natural antioxidant and there is a known link between oxidation and a wide range of inflammatory disorders.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a common chronic disease that causes persistent, often very painful inflammation in the joints. As the disease progresses, the joints become more damaged and ultimately may be destroyed.
Epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of high levels of beta-cryptoxanthin to a reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis. The findings of the Iowa Women’s Health Study noted that the high dietary intake of beta-cryptoxanthin as opposed to any other carotenoids was strongly related to a decreased risk of rheumatism.
These findings suggest that beta-cryptoxanthin might have protective effects against free radical damage and oxidative stress that leads to the development of the disease. (5)
Another study found that dietary consumption of beta-cryptoxanthin was linked to a reduced risk of inflammatory polyarthritis. (6)
While these studies indicate that the antioxidant properties of the carotenoid may explain these benefits, the specific mechanisms remain unclear. More studies are necessary before the precise link between beta cryptoxanthin and chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatism is understood.
Bone Health and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a common disease characterized by the loss of bone density and the deterioration of the bone tissue. The disease eventually leads to brittle and fragile bones and an increased risk of fractures.
Beta-cryptoxanthin may also help improve bone health and may potentially help protect against osteoporosis. There is a known link between bone health and deficiencies in vitamin D and calcium and correcting these deficiencies can help protect against osteoporosis. However, it is believed that other factors, especially oxidative stress, may also play a key role.
Several in vitro studies indicate that beta-cryptoxanthin has unique benefits in stimulating the formation of bone osteoblasts and suppressing osteoclastic resorption. (7)
Animal studies support the results of the laboratory research. Studies on rats found that beta-cryptoxanthin could improve bone integiuty and protect against bone loss. (8)
In addition, several human studies have also found that consuming mandarin juice, reinforced with beta-cryptoxanthin, helped stimulate bone formation as well as inhibiting bone resorption. The results of these studies suggest that the dietary consumption of beta cryptoxanthin might protect against the bone loss that occurs with age.
Another study found a link between beta-cryptoxanthin and osteoporosis on postmenopausal women. The researchers observed lower serum concentrations of beta cryptoxanthin in women with the bone disease than in women without osteoporosis. (9)
Obesity and Metabolic Disorder
A very recent study on roundworm models found that there was a link between beta cryptoxanthin and obesity. The study, which was published in February 2019, suggests there may be a link between the compound and increased energy expenditure while it also improved the response to oxidative stress.
The researchers suggested that the results might provide evidence for a potential us of beta cryptoxanthin in preventing disease linked to metabolic syndrome. (10)
More research is necessary but it is definitely worth keeping an eye on any future findings.
Beta-cryptoxanthin is a carotenoid with antioxidant properties. It acts as a precursor to vitamin A and may play a number of vital roles in the body.
Beta-cryptoxanthin is present in a variety of fresh fruit and veg including papaya, mangoes, tangerines and oranges. It is also present in certain animal products including egg yolk and butter.
A growing body of evidence suggests that beta-cryptoxanthin may have a number of health benefits. Studies have found that it may help reduce the risk of lung cancer in smokers, strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis and reduce inflammation and protect against arthritis.