Over 250 epidemiological studies of cancer or heart disease risk have shown that high dietary intakes of beta-carotene rich fruits and vegetables were associated with lower risk of premature disease and death (Ziegler, 1991). Beta-carotene was linked to the prevention of cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration, and premature aging in these studies (Burri, 1997; Erdman et al., 1996). Cell culture, animal, human, and in vitro studies showed that beta-carotene was an effective antioxidant (Dixon et al., 1998; Dugas et al., 1999; Lin et al., 1998; Lowe et al., 1999). Furthermore, it was more powerful in gap-junction formation than lycopene (Bertram et al., 1991; Zhang et al., 1992), and inhibits cholesterol synthesis by the same mechanism as lycopene (Aviram and Fuhrman, 1998; Fuhrman et al., 1997).
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