by PhilipJ on 17 June 2005
“Eat your carrots or you’ll go blind! The biochemical reason for this childhood warning is that we need retinal, vitamin A, to form the pigment that absorbs light in our eyes. Unfortunately, our cells cannot make it for themselves, so we have to obtain it in our diet. We typically get our daily dose of vitamin A in two different ways. Retinal, or molecules similar to it, may be obtained directly when we eat meat. Alternatively, we can eat molecules that are easily transformed into retinal. This is where the carrots enter the story. They are full of beta-carotene, which our cells break in half to form two molecules of retinal.”
Read the rest at the Protein Data Bank, here.