Carrot Juice Orange Skin:

Help, Carrot Juice Is Turning My Skin Orange!

by Chet Day

A reader of my newsletter writes...


We found the [X] Diet web site about two months ago, and about two weeks later we discovered your site and find it to be much more balanced.

We have been juicing and mainly drinking carrot juice up to four times a day. This week we have noticed that we are becoming very, very yellow! We are even getting people come up to us who don't know us asking if we are feeling well because of our colour!

We are quite concerned. What is the recommendation for drinking carrot juice?

Apparently [a strict vegan health guru] drinks six glasses a day. We are drinking less than that but obviously it is having drastic results! We understand that you are busy, but could you please give us some advice?

Two Australian Readers

At least a couple times a month I hear from someone like my two new Down Under friends above who have been drinking from eight to 32-ounces a day of 100% carrot juice and whose palms and soles and skin in general are turning orange/yellow as a result.

Let me briefly share the answer I'm returning these days when people write and ask about turning orange from drinking carrot juice...

Yes, orange skin is a problem for people who overdo on carrot juice, and I believe the orange color is your body's way of telling you that you're drinking too much of it.

Personally, I never drink juice composed of more than 20-25% carrots these days. Doing so will not only turn you orange, but it will also cause blood sugar problems because carrots are so high on the glycemic index.

For those who want a fuller explanation of the orange color, here's a good one from Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., that was published in "Consumer Reports on Health" in July of 1997:

"You might be upset if you noticed that your skin had turned orangey yellow. Could it be jaundice, the result of excess bile in the blood due to hepatitis or some other disease? If the whites of your eyes aren't turning yellow, too, the skin discoloration, called carotenemia, just means you've been eating lots of carrots or else taking supplements containing betacarotene.

"Carotenemia is the medical term for increased blood levels of the pigment carotene, a vitamin-A precursor found mainly in the fruits and vegetables, especially carrots and sweet potatoes. The excess carotene is deposited in the skin, where it imparts that distinctive hue. High blood levels of carotene are harmless, and enzymes in the body limit that nutrient's conversion to vitamin A so the vitamin won't reach toxic levels. If you don't like the orange color, cut down on the carrots or supplements. Your skin color will return to normal after a few weeks."

Norman Walker, a pioneer of juice therapy, erroneously states on page 33 of "Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices" that the orange color "is an indication that the liver is getting a well-needed cleansing." Not so, as Dr. Lipman clearly explained above.

I respect some of the work of Norman Walker, especially when he allows vegans to eat small amounts of cream, butter, or raw milk cheese (fish and eggs would have been healthier) to avoid typical strict vegan deficiencies, but whenever you read him, please do so carefully because many of his "facts" are actually his health philosophy, which is a quaint mixture of sharp observations and pseudo-science.

So enjoy your juice, but take a common sense approach and find a middle ground. Instead of straight carrot juice, focus instead on variety with lots and lots of different kinds of veggies in your juice.

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