The World's Healthiest Foods

Can eating carrots turn your hair orange?

No, eating carrots cannot turn your hair orange. The substances in carrots that provide them with their orange color are called carotenoids. There are more than a dozen different carotenoids found in carrots, and the orange carrots we're familiar with in the grocery store are especially dependent on one particular carotenoid, beta-carotene, for their color. Because beta-carotene is fat-soluble, excesses of this carotenoid only tend to end up in fat-containing containing tissue, including our skin. (By the way, unless the food you eat contains some fat, you don't absorb as much beta-carotene from your food). It takes a good bit of beta-carotene from food, however, and some time before you can see a skin change caused by diet. In studies on skin accumulation of beta-carotene, about 51 grams of beta-carotene per day are required, and up to two weeks before skin changes become visible. Since there are only 5-6 milligrams of beta-carotene in one carrot, we're talking about 9-10 carrots per day as the amount required, as evidenced in most studies, to see skin changes. In most studies. The appearance of beta-carotene in the skin (often in the palm of the hand, for example) is called carotoderma.

Hair gets its color from a different family of pigments than the carotenoid family. Melanin is the name for the family of pigments that give color to our hair. Within this family, it is eumelanin that corresponds to the black and brown hair shades, and phaeomelanin that corresponds to shades of red. Although hair contains some fat, its composition is over 90% protein and it is not a storage spot for carotenoids.

Regarding caratoderma, the yellowing of the skin is usually related to carotenemia, excessive levels of carotene in the blood. The health impact of carotenemia is not well researched. Eating or juicing high amounts of foods rich in carotene, like carrots, may over tax the body's ability to convert these foods to vitamin A. Since it takes time for the body to convert carotene into vitamin A, this extra carotene may get stored in skin tissue or in subcutaneous fat. If the cause of carotenemia is eating excessively high amounts of foods like carrots, the color changes in the skin are usually temporary and disappear not long after consumption is reduced. .

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