Beta carotene is an important antioxidant needed by every cell in the body. It is particularly needed to protect the lungs and skin from toxic damage. When ingested, beta carotene may be transformed to vitamin A. Thus, this vegetable-source molecule serves as an important source of vitamin A. Certain individuals may be unable to transform beta carotene into vitamin A and, thus, are highly vulnerable to developing the deficiency. Such individuals include diabetics, individuals with ulcers/intestinal disease, alcoholics, hepatitis victims, and individuals with hypothyroidism.