Archive: What is beta carotene?the human body converts beta carotene into vitamin a (retinol) - beta carotene is a precursor of vitamin a. we need vitamin a for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.<br />beta carotene in itself is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin a is. beta carotene's chemical formula - c40h56 - was discovered in 1907<br />vitamin a can be sourced from the food we eat, through beta carotene, for example, or in supplement form. the advantage of dietary beta carotene is that the body only converts as much as it needs.<br />excess vitamin a is toxic. toxic vitamin a levels can occur if you consume too many supplements.a supplement can provide nutrients either extracted from food sources or synthetic, individually or in combination, in order to increase the quantity of their consumption. the class of nutrient compounds includes vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids and amino acids.