Clinics and Departments

Laboratory Services

Lab Dept:


Test Name:


General Information

Lab Order Codes:



Beta Carotene

CPT Codes:

82380 - Carotene

Test Includes:

Carotene level reported in mcg/dL.


Test Indications:

Useful for detection of nutritional deficiency of carotene or detection of excessive ingestion of carotene.

Beta-carotene is a member of the family of cartenoids, highly pigmented (red, orange, yellow) fat soluble vitamins that are the precursors or provitamins of vitamin A. The principle provitamin A compounds include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Carotenoids occur in high levels in many fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and others. The most significant effect of these provitamins is their conversion to vitamin A, which plays a major role in vision as well as reproduction, embryonic growth, and immune function.

The highest level of carotene can be found in the serum of individuals ingesting large amounts of vegetables, primarily carrots. These people may have a slight yellowish tinge of the skin but the sclera of the eye is not discolored. Decreased serum levels may be seen in individuals with nutritional deficiencies including anorexia nervosa, malabsorption, and steatorrhea.

Lab Testing Sections:

Chemistry - Sendouts

Referred to:

Mayo Medical Laboratories (Test: BCARO)

Phone Numbers:

MIN Lab: 612-813-6280

STP Lab: 651-220-6550

Test Availability:

Daily, 24 hours

Turnaround Time:

2-6 days, batched twice weekly

Special Instructions:



Specimen Type:



Red top tube

Draw Volume:

3 mL (Minimum: 1 mL) blood

Processed Volume:

1 mL (Minimum: 0.3 mL) serum


Routine venipuncture

Special Processing:

Lab Staff: Centrifuge specimen, remove serum aliquot into an amber MML tube (Supply T192) to protect from light. Store and ship at refrigerated temperatures. Forward promptly.

Patient Preparation:

Patient must not consume any alcohol or vitamin supplements for 24 hours before the specimen is drawn. An overnight (12-14 hour) fast is recommended for the patient (water, but no other liquids, may be taken as needed).

Sample Rejection:

Specimens other than serum, mislabeled or unlabeled specimens


Reference Range:

<18 years

Not established

> or =18 years

2.3 – 65.0 mcg/dL

Critical Values:



Lower serum beta-carotene concentrations have been associated with smoking and ethanol consumption.


High-Performance Liquid Chromotography (HPLC)


Mayo Medical Laboratories April 2013


4/29/2013: Updated method and reference range.

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