Knowledge: Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus)

Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus)

Carrot, which is scientifically known as Daucus carota, is a popular root vegetable known for its bright orange color and sweet taste. It is native from Europe and west and central Asia and was probably domesticated in Afghanistan. Cultivated carrots were introduced in the MA and in Europe around the 8th century BE. Carrot extract is typically made by grinding fresh carrots into a fine powder or by extracting the juice from the carrots using various methods such as steam distillation, cold pressing, or solvent extraction. The resulting extract can then be used in many different applications, including as a dietary supplement, as a natural colorant and flavoring agent in food products, or as an ingredient in skincare products due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is particularly rich in beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect the body against free radicals and oxidative stress, which can contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Other beneficial compounds found in carrot extract include vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals such as potassium and calcium.

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Chemical structure

One of the active compounds of carrot is beta carotene.

Applications

Food and beverages

  • Carrot extract is commonly used as a natural colorant and flavoring agent in various food and beverage products such as juices, smoothies, baked goods, desserts, sauces. It can also be used as a nutritional supplement in powder or liquid form, added to protein powders, energy bars, and other functional foods.

Skincare and cosmetics

  • Carrot extract is often used in skincare and cosmetic products due to its high content of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. It can help to protect the skin against UV damage, reduce inflammation, and improve skin texture and tone. Carrot extract is commonly found in moisturizers, serums, and facial masks.

Nutraceutical and supplements

  • Carrot extract is used in the formulation of dietary supplements and nutraceuticals due to its high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive compounds. It is often added to multivitamin and antioxidant supplements, and immune-boosting formulas.

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HEALTH BENEFITS

Immunity Booster

Studies on the role of carotenoids on immune response have generally used several key immune function assays such as immunoglobulin (Ig) production, lymphoblastogenesis, lymphocyte cytotoxic activity, cytokine production, and delayed type hypersensitivity.

Type of study Human
Subject Healthy male nonsmokers (n=25) in the age range of 19 – 58 years, not taking any medication and vitamin supplements, not vegetarian, not anemic, not diabetic, not consuming >280 g of alcohol per week, and having BMI <35 kg/m².
Duration Nearly 2 months
Dosage 15 mg beta carotene daily.
Group Group 1: Received placebo for 26 days.
Group 2: Received 15 mg beta carotene daily for 26 days.After the second blood sample was taken on Day 28 of the study, the participants were then crossed-over immediately onto the alternative supplements.Group 1: Received 15 mg beta carotene daily for 26 days.
Group 2: Received placebo for 26 days.Then a final blood sample was taken on Day 56.
Parameters analyzed Analysis of monocyte surface molecule expression by flow cytometry
Outcomes Visible benefits

  • There was a significant increase in the percentage of monocytes expressing the major MHC class II molecule, HLA-DR, after beta carotene supplementation, and this increase was maintained in group 2 after placebo treatment, in association with the persistent elevation in plasma beta carotene levels.
  • There was also a significant increase in the percentage of monocytes expressing the adhesion molecules ICAM-1 and LFA-3 after beta carotene supplementation.
Functions Daily beta carotene supplementation can enhance the expression of functionally associated surface molecules on human blood monocytes which signifies the elevated degree of immune responsiveness of an individual to antigenic stimulation. (Enhancement of cell-mediated immunity)

Anticancer

Carrot extract contains phytochemicals, such as carotenoids, that have been shown to have antioxidant and anticancer properties and may help to prevent the development of certain types of cancer.

Type of study Animal Cell culture
Subject 40 Wistar rats weighing between 220 g and 250 g were injected with 1 × 107/mL of H22 cells (murine hepatocarcinoma cells, HCC). 4 different lines of human colon adenocarcinoma cells, growing in suspension (COLO 320 HSR) or as a monolayer (LS-174, HT-29, and WiDr).
Duration 4 weeks 72 hours
Dosage 20-60 mg/kg beta carotene given orally daily. 4 different cell lines were incubated with varying beta carotene concentrations of 0, 1, 5, 10, 25, 50µM for 72 hours.
Group Normal Group: Treated with same volume of physiological saline.

Control group: Untreated HCC rats (only received soybean oil.

Test group 1 (low-dose group): HCC rats that are treated with oral 20 mg/kg of beta carotene for 30 days.

Test group 2 (middle-dose group): HCC rats that are treated with oral 40 mg/kg of beta carotene for 30 days.

Test group 3 (high-dose group): HCC rats that are treated with oral 60 mg/kg of beta carotene for 30 days.

Control group: Received THF

Test group 1: WiDr + THF + beta carotene

Test group 2: LS-174 + THF + beta carotene

Test group 3: HT-29 + THF + beta carotene

Test group 4: COLO 320 HSR + THF + beta carotene

Parameters analyzed
  • Histological assessment
  • Tumour weight and size
  • Blood levels of natural killer cells (NK), interleukin-2 (IL-2), TNF-α
  • Blood levels of ALT, AST, ALP
  • Cell growth inhibition assay – ID25 and ID50
  • Cell cycle analysis by flow cytometry
Outcomes Visible benefits

  • Oral administration of beta carotene significantly reduced the tumour weight and size of the rats in the beta-carotene-treated groups in a dose-dependent manner as compared to that in the control group. The inhibition rate of beta carotene increased with the increasing concentration.
  • Administration of beta carotene dose-dependently significantly increased the blood levels of NK, IL-2, and TNF-α in the beta-carotene treated HCC rats as compared to the untreated HCC rats.
  • There was a significant inverse relationship between the dose of beta carotene administered and the blood levels of ALT, AST, and ALP in the HCC rats.
  • Based on the histological evaluation, the nuclear fission in tumour cells was less while abundant lymphocyte and leukocyte infiltration were observed in beta carotene-treated group, indicating that beta carotene could inhibit tumour cell growth.
Visible benefits

  • COLO 320 HSR cells were reported to be the most susceptible to beta carotene treatment, followed by LS-174, HT-29, and WiDr cells due to their respective cell ability to incorporate the carotenoid. The explanation behind this was the difference in cell metabolic status and membrane composition that influences beta carotene accumulation. The calculated ID25 and ID50 values for COLO 320 HSR cells were 2 and 8 µM respectively. Meanwhile, the ID25 values for LS-174, HT-29, and WiDr cells were 5, 11, and 36 respectively.
  • In the absence of beta carotene, most COLO 320 HSR cells were in S phase due to the high proliferative state. However, in the presence of beta carotene, a net dose-dependent increase in the percentage of cells in G2/M was observed and was maintained throughout the treatment. The G2/M phase accumulation was accompanied by a corresponding reduction in the percentages of cells in S phase. Furthermore, the presence of a distinct sub G1 peak (subdiploid DNA content), suggestive of the presence of apoptotic cells, was reported following the beta carotene treatment. Such a peak increased in a dose-dependent manner.
Functions
  • Beta carotene treatment can increase the capacity of spleen cells inducing IL-2 and peritoneal macrophages inducing TNF-α, indicating its association with the restoration of the body’s immunity function.
  • The resultant decrease in ALP, ALT, and AST level signifies the liver function improvement after the treatment with beta carotene due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Present studies prove that beta carotene may act as a potent growth inhibitory compound in human colon adenocarcinoma cells and supports the possibility of a chemopreventive or chemotherapeutic function.
  • The mechanism of beta carotene inhibition of colon cancer cell growth involves interference in both cell cycle progression and apoptosis. The carotenoid can induce cell cycle arrest in  G2/M phase and apoptotic death in a dose- and time-dependent manner in the human colon cancer cell lines.

Support Cardiovascular Health

Besides its antioxidant properties, carrot extract contains fiber which can help to lower cholesterol level and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Type of study Literature review
Evidences
  • The enrichment of LDL with beta carotene in vitro has been shown to decrease the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative modification.
  • Recent studies reported that beta carotene, similar to lycopene, affects NF-kB-dependent expression of adhesion molecule and monocyte-human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) interaction induced by TNF-α and protects nitric oxide bioavailability, hence reducing TNF-α-induced nitro-oxidative stress.
  • A beta-carotene-rich diet may inhibit atherosclerosis by reducing non-HDL plasma cholesterol concentrations and by inhibiting fatty liver development and inflammation in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.

Healthy for Skin

Carrot extract is rich in antioxidants namely, beta carotene and vitamin C, which can help to protect the skin against sun damage and reduce the signs of aging such as wrinkles and age spots. In a study using human skin cells, th researchers found that beta carotene suppresses UVA-induction of the matrix metalloprotease enzymes MMP-1, MMP-3, and MMP-10, which are the keys to degradation of the extracellular matrix during premature skin aging.

Type of study Human
Subject 43 Caucasian men with a mean age of 21 years 11 months who do not suffer from any immunological, endocrine, or metabolic disorders.
Duration 3 months
Dosage Beta carotene from Natural Factors 30,000 IU daily.
Group Control group: Received 400 mg 100% pure lactose capsule daily.

Test group: Received 30,000 IU beta carotene from Natural Factors daily.

Parameters analyzed
  • Face color measurement – Yellowness, redness, lightness
  • Facial attractiveness
Outcomes Visible benefits

  • The results showed a significant post-supplementation increase in skin yellowness and redness but not lightness for the beta carotene group.
  • Post-supplementation faces were chosen as more attractive and healthier looking than the pre-supplementation faces significantly above 50% chance level in the beta carotene treatment group.
Functions Carotenoid beta carotene enhances skin yellowness and redness and increases facial attractiveness due to its antioxidant capacity.

Healthy for Eyes

Research has found that eating a carotenoid-rich diet, including beta carotene, supports eye health and prevents eye diseases. Studies have shown that people with high blood levels of carotenoids may have a reduced risk of macular degeneration by up to 35%.

Reference

  1. Journal DOI: 10.1016/s0022-2143(97)90179-7
  2. Journal DOI:10.3390/molecules17078595
  3. Journal DOI: 10.1093/carcin/23.1.11
  4. Journal DOI: 10.3402/fnr.v59.26762
  5. Journal DOI:10.1093/beheco/arw188
Carrot extract powder

Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) Standardized Extract Powder

  • Pure 20:1 Carrot Daucus carota subsp. sativus Extract
  • Healthy for eyes
  • Healthy for skin
  • Highly nutritious
  • May boost immunity
  • May protect your liver
  • Prevent cancer
  • Ultrasonic hot water/solvent extraction