WHAT IS CRYPTOXANTHIN?
Cryptoxanthin (also known as beta-cryptoxanthin) is a carotenoid and phytonutrient (health boosting, plant based chemical compounds which are not classed as essential nutrients). It is chemically very similar to beta carotene and like beta carotene it is used by your body to create vitamin A. In this article I will be providing a full breakdown of cryptooxanthin and discussing how it affects the human body.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CRYPTOXANTHIN?
There is very little information available regarding the discovery of cryptoxanthin.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CRYPTOXANTHIN?
When you eat cryptoxanthin it is converted into vitamin A inside the body so many of its health benefits are similar. Its main role is to support healthy vision and night vision but it also has a number of additional health benefits which include:
– Acting as an antioxidant (a substance that protects the body’s cells from dangerous free radicals).
– Assisting in normal growth (particularly proper development of the bones and teeth).
– Assisting in normal reproduction (vitamin A is thought to be vital in the production of sperm and for healthy fetal growth).
– Helping your eyes, skin and mucus lining to stay moist.
– Strengthening the immune system.
Provisional studies suggest that cryptoxanthin may also have additional health benefits in humans. However, more research is needed before these potential benefits can be confirmed. The list below outlines these possible cryptoxanthin health benefits:
– Possibly preventing arthritis (inflammation of the joints).
– Possibly preventing lung cancer.
HOW MUCH CRYPTOXANTHIN DO YOU NEED?
Cryptoxanthin is not classed as an essential nutrient so no official recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been established.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN CRYPTOXANTHIN?
Cryptoxanthin can be sourced from various plant based foods. The table below highlights some of the top food sources:
|MILLIGRAMS (MG) OF CRYPTOXANTHIN PER 100 GRAMS (G)
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CONSUMING TOO MUCH CRYPTOXANTHIN?
Currently there are no reported overdose symptoms associated with cryptoxanthin.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FAILING TO CONSUME ENOUGH CRYPTOXANTHIN?
Cryptoxanthin is not classed as an essential nutrient so no deficiency symptoms have been established. However, if your diet is lacking in retinol or beta carotene, consuming low levels of cryptoxanthin can cause you to become deficient in vitamin A which can lead to:
– Dry skin.
– Increased risk of infection.
– Vision problems.
It has also been suggested that long term cryptoxanthin deficiency may also cause chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. However, there is very little evidence available to back this suggestion.
Eating cryptoxanthin is an excellent way to supply your body with the fuel it needs to create vitamin A. Whilst beta carotene and retinol are the 2 main sources of this vitamin in the diet there is no harm in mixing it up a little and consuming cryptoxanthin. Butternut squash, pumpkin and the various spices listed above are all excellent health boosting foods that can add a little variety to your diet and allow you to enjoy the cryptoxanthin benefits discussed in this article.