What is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a group of fat-soluble compounds that help form bones, promote eye health and good vision, promote gastrointestinal health, promote healthy skin, and assist the immune system in functioning properly. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness, a diminished capacity for the body to fight infections, and pneumonia and other immuno-deficient conditions.
What are the health benefits of Vitamin A?
Vitamin A help form bones, promote eye health and good vision, promote gastrointestinal health, promote healthy skin, and assist the immune system in functioning properly.
What foods are good sources of Vitamin A?
The human diet generally consists of two forms of vitamin A: retinol and carotenoids. Retinol is an active type of vitamin A that is obtained from consuming animal-based foods such as beef liver, chicken liver, whole milk, eggs, and cheese. Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, are found in plant foods and can turn into a form of vitamin A. Carotenoids can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, cantaloupe, apricots, broccoli, and dark, leafy vegetables. It has recently been found that fruits and vegetables aren’t as useful as animal products for obtaining vitamin A, and therefore those with a vegetarian or vegan diet must pay special attention to consuming adequate amounts of vitamin A in their diet.
What are the guidelines for taking Vitamin A?
It is recommended that men over the age of 18 consume 3,000 IU of vitamin A per day and women consume 2,310 IU of vitamin A per day. Vitamin A is rarely an issue for those living in the United States, but may happen when one consumes excessive amounts of alcohol or experiences chronic diarrhea.
Are there any precautions for taking Vitamin A?
While it is important to consume adequate amounts of vitamin A, it can also be toxic when taken in excessive amounts. If a person consumes excessive amounts of vitamin A, or more than 4,000 IU per day, they are at risk for experiencing liver abnormalities, osteoporosis, central nervous system disorders, and if a woman consumes excessive amounts of vitamin A during pregnancy, the infant may experience birth defects.
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