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The entire family includes alpha, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin and capsanthin and research has demonstrated that some of these have significant antioxidant and protective benefits greater than the original beta carotene. Solgar’s range includes oceanic beta carotene which is one of the best, natural forms along with other naturally-occurring carotenoids from D. salina sea algae. They also have mixed carotenoid complex products available which includes the other important members of the family. Biologically, beta-carotene is most important as the precursor of vitamin A. These nutrients are also necessary for the development and maintenance of healthy epithelial tissue and mucous membranes such as the lining of the lungs, bronchi and other respiratory tissues. Epithelial tissue forms a barrier against bacteria and other foreign substances and aids directly in the prevention of infection and disease. Beta-carotene is a substance from plants that the body converts into vitamin A. It also acts as an antioxidant and an immune system booster. Solgar was one of the first companies to employ a natural mix of carotenoids in all of their beta carotene formulas as opposed to the practice of using only synthetic beta carotene, the former containing a blend of nutritionally valuable carotenoids not found in the latter.