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While I can’t stress enough just how important all the vitamins and minerals are for your overall well being, today we’re going to focus on vitamin A. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, a powerful antioxidant, and part of a family of compounds that are vitally important to the body. It supports the immune system, helps strengthen vision, assists with normal organ function, reproduction, and more.
Vitamins are important for maintaining good health and if you don’t get what you need, vitamin deficiencies and health problems can result. Many people take a multivitamin as a precaution, some do not.
How can you get enough vitamin A and what are the overall health benefits?
Basic Forms of Vitamin A
This class of compounds plays an important role for healthy vision, cell and bone tissue growth, and immune function. And it’s because of that they’re often used in medicine. However, vitamin A in this form can only be found naturally in animal products like liver, eggs, and milk, so vegetarians and (especially) vegans need to be aware of where they’re getting their vitamin A.
In contrast, carotenoids like beta-carotene are found in plant sources like vegetables and fruits. Like retinoids, carotenoids can also help maintain healthy skin, eyes, and boost the immune system. Carotenoids like the one found in kale, carrots, and other vegetables have to be converted into a usable form of vitamin A (retinol) by the body.
Best Vitamin A Foods
Vitamin A is available from a variety of food sources. The recommended daily intake varies with age and other circumstances. Pregnant or lactating women can normally benefit from taking more each day. As always, consult with your doctor about any major dietary changes you are considering. If you would benefit from more vitamin A foods in your diet, there are a number of great options.
|Food||IU (serving)||DV (%)|
|Baked sweet potato (in skin) 1 whole||28,058||561|
|Beef liver (pan fried) 3 ounces||22,175||444|
|Boiled spinach (frozen) ½ cup||11,458||229|
|Carrots (raw) ½ cup||9,189||184|
|Cantaloupe (raw) ½ cup||2,706||54|
|Sweet red peppers (raw) ½ cup||2,332||47|
|Mangos (raw) 1 whole||2,240||45|
|Black-eyed peas (boiled) 1 cup||1,305||26|
|Apricots (dried) 10 halves||1,261||25|
|Broccoli (boiled) ½ cup||1,208||24|
Health Benefits of Vitamin A
- Vitamin in A is critical for good vision
- Plays an important role in healthy bone growth
- Vitamin A is essential for reproduction
- Plays a role in cell division and cell growth
- Supports the immune system
- Supports skin health
Dangers of Vitamin A Deficiency
Deficiencies may affect the elderly and chronically ill most of all. One of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness, as well as scaly skin, brittle hair and nails, poor growth, and poor immunity. Those with vitamin A deficiency also tend to have low iron levels, which can lead to anemia.
Considerations About Vitamin A Intake
Getting too much vitamin A is also a concern. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it’s stored in fat cells—typically the liver—where it will be used as needed. Too much vitamin A from supplements in a short or over a long period of time can be toxic and cause a condition known as hypervitaminosis A. Symptoms may include dizziness, nausea, headaches, skin irritation, pain in joints and bones, and even liver damage. If you are taking vitamin A supplements, make sure they are from food-based sources like beta-carotene and use as directed.
What About Vitamin A Supplements?
Making the right dietary choices and taking a high-quality supplement can do wonders for your health. Because of the way it supports skin health, we have used emulsified vitamin A as a key ingredient in the natural skin care product, Parfait Visage®. Vitamin A has been used for years to encourage bright, vibrant looking skin and Parfait Visage harnesses that benefit to help you care for your skin.
What’s your experience with vitamin A? Tell us in the comments below.