The Eclectic Physician
Dr. Beth Burch
Carotene deposits in the skin, causing a deep yellow color.Q. The palms of my hands are yellow. My doctor is stumped because she says I'm not jaundiced. I take a multivitamin, but that's it. And I don't eat an unusual amount of yellow veggies. Any ideas?
It sounds like you may have what is called carotenosis, which is simply the deposition of carotene in the skin, especially the palms and the soles. When the carotene levels in the blood are high, the carotene deposits in the skin, causing a deep yellow color. The level of carotene in the blood can be checked to see if it is high.
Carotenes are present in many foods, especially dark green and dark yellow vegetables and also in many vitamin supplements. High blood carotene can result with excess consumption of carotenes, especially carrot juice and supplements. It is also common when there is a defect in the conversion of carotene to active vitamin A. This can happen in diabetes and hypothyroidism, so you will want your doctor to check your blood sugar levels and your thyroid hormone levels.
There does not seem to be any ill effect of high blood carotene or carotenosis. However when carotenosis is due to excess carotene consumption, reducing the amount of high carotene foods and supplements will decrease the blood level and over time the yellow skin will decrease. If it is due to diabetes or hypothyroidism, these should be treated. Diabetics need to eat foods with active vitamin A to assure adequate levels of this important vitamin.
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