Preferred Sample Type

Alpha/beta Carotenes

Suitable Specimen Types

  • Serum
1ml blood (protected from light)

Specimen Transport

First class post

Sample Processing in Laboratory

Protect sample from light and transport to the laboratory as usual

Sample Preparation

Protect sample from light

Turnaround Time

1 week

Sample Stability


Alpha/beta Carotenes

General Information

The two primary isomers of carotene, a-carotene and b-carotene, differ in the position of double bonds in the cyclic group at the end of the molecule.

Plasma carotenes concentrations in general reflect dietary intake. Dietary assessment is usually all that is necessary, but measurement is occasionally helpful in establishing whether an unusual skin colouration is due to hypercarotenaemia or not.

Patient Preparation



Protect from light

Reference Range

Alpha carotene <0.25 umol/L

Beta carotene 0.19-0.89 umol/L


  • EQA Scheme?: Yes
  • EQA Status:

    Referral lab participates in EQA scheme

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HTA licence number is 12366

Protection of Personal Information – Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection Policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and it’s employees to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

The Trust Laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital were awarded UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accreditation to the internationally recognised ISO 15189 standard in May 2015. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the test database
Tests not appearing on this scope are either under consideration or in the process of accreditation and so currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235