Vitamin A

What is vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin required in the body for multiple functions. Vitamin A is essential for sight – it helps with normal vision and nighttime vision, and it also helps the eyes adjust to changes in light. Vitamin A  promotes the growth and health of cells and tissues throughout the body. Vitamin A plays a role in preventing infections and diseases by regulating the immune system and it may also work as an antioxidant to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases.

Where is vitamin A found?

Animal Sources: Beef liver, Chicken liver, Fish oil, Eggs, Fortified dairy products
Grain Sources: Fortified cereals
Plant Sources*: Carrots, Spinach, Mango, Cantaloupe, Tomato juice, and any other red, orange, yellow, or dark green vegetables
*Vitamin A from plant sources comes from carotenoids, which are changed into vitamin A in the body.

How much vitamin A do you need?

Needs from age 14 on:
Male: 900 mcg RAE
Female: 700 mcg RAE
Pregnant: 770 mcg RAE
Breast-feeding: 1200 mcg RAE
Too much for adults: 3,000 mcg RAE
RAE= Retinol Activity Equivalents
Example: one serving of carrots has about 460 mcg RAE, one serving of skim milk has about 150 mcg RAE

Why vitamin A?

Not enough vitamin A may cause many health problems:
– Night blindness
– Color blindness
– Lowered immunity
– Dry, scaly skin
– Poor growth
– Eventually leads to irreversible eye damage

But too much vitamin A can be harmful also. Since vitamin A is stored in the body in fat cells, large intakes of vitamin A supplements over time can lead to toxicity.
Symptoms include:
– Headaches
– Dry, scaly skin
– Liver damage
– Nerve damage
– Bone and joint pain

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1 Comment

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One response to “Vitamin A

  1. Pingback: Vitamin C | Executive Dining's Nourishment

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