Carotenoids are tetraterpenoid organic pigments synthesized by a variety of plants and microorganisms. Dietary carotenoids, taken by animals through food, play an essential role in cell differentiation, morphogenesis, vision, prevention of cancer, atherosclerosis, and age-related macular degeneration in humans due to their potential to suppress oxidative stress. As reactive oxygen species and oxidative damage to biomolecules have been found to be involved in the causation and progression of chronic liver diseases (CLDs), including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Therefore, dietary antioxidants, which inactivate reactive oxygen species and obstruct oxidative damage, are considered as vital prophylactic strategic molecules. Data from various epidemiological studies and clinical trials strongly validate the observation that adequate carotenoid supplementation may significantly reduce the risk of several liver disorders. This chapter, thus, provides a comprehensive account of dietary carotenoids and includes the recent information with respect to their role in prevention of liver diseases.
Part of the book: Descriptive Food Science