Beta carotene can’t get into the eye and can interfere with the bioavailability of the much more important eye-healthy carotenoids that can. Lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin are collectively called macular carotenoids because they get into the eye and accumulate in the macula, where they act as blue light filters and antioxidants (they are found in the Lutemax® 2020 in Qualia Vision).
One of the formulation goals of Qualia Vision was to enhance the bioavailability of these macular carotenoids. This is one of several reasons ginger root extract is found in Qualia Vision—ginger is a bioenhancer. There would have needed to be an extremely compelling reason to include an ingredient, like beta carotene, that impairs the bioavailability of macular carotenoids.
And, frankly, there is not.
Beta carotene has a reputation for being eye healthy, but this is because it can be converted into vitamin A in the liver. This is why beta carotene is sometimes referred to as provitamin A and used as a way to support vitamin A levels.
It’s because of this provitamin A role, not any direct role in eye health, that has led to beta carotene being thought of for eye health. While vitamin A is an important vitamin for eye function, it is an extremely uncommon nutrient deficiency in the United States and other developed countries.
We do not think vitamin A should be routinely supplemented.
And, if beta carotene is being used as a provitamin A source, we think it’s better taken at a different meal than Qualia Vision.