Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. It needs fat to dissolve and be used by our body and it can be stored in our fatty tissue.
There are 2 types of vitamin A. The first is preformed vitamin A and is found in meat, dairy, poultry, fish, fortified foods and supplements. When consuming fortified foods and supplements with this form of vitamin A, because it can be stored in the fatty tissue, you can actually have too much and create toxicity.
The second type, provitamin A, is found in fruits, vegetables and other plant-based products. The most common form of provitamin A is beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. It begins as a carotenoid in food and is converted by the body into vitamin A. With provitamin A, you cannot have too much and it will NOT create toxicity.
Choose your A well!
People with diabetes mellitus and hyperthyroidism cannot store vitamin A so it is very important they eat fruits and vegetables and take a quality multivitamin with provitamin A everyday.
Promotes normal vision
Supports immune system health
Supports reproductive health
Helps the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs work properly
Stimulates the production and activity of white blood cells
Helps with the formation of bones and teeth
Aids in fat storage
Protects against colds and flu
Protects against infection of the kidneys, bladder, lungs and mucous membranes
Antioxidant that protects cells from cancer and other diseases
Foods that provide vitamin A:
Fruits, like cantaloupe and mango
Raw green, leafy green vegetables, like kale, broccoli and spinach
Orange, red and yellow vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, red bell pepper and tomatoes
Fish oil/Cod liver oil
Herbs that provide vitamin A:
Signs of Deficiency
Severe dryness of the eye, xerophthalmia (inability to see in low light; can lead to blindness)
Irregular patches on the white of the eye
Dry skin and hair
Yeast problems-unhealthy flora in the colon inhibits the conversion of carotene to vitamin A
Problems in the membranes of the mouth and the digestive and urogenital tract
Signs of Toxicity
Because preformed vitamin A can be stored in fatty tissue, it can build up if too much is taken through supplements. Provitamin A is not toxic, even at high levels of intake.
Vision changes such as blurry sight
Nausea and vomiting
Sensitivity to bright light like the sun
Avoid foods that have been "fortified" with vitamin A. This basically means this food has been extremely processed, stripped of all its nutrients and synthetic versions of vitamins have been used to replace the natural ones. Synthetic vitamin A will promote toxicity and ill side effects.
Given in high doses, vitamin A from animal sources called retinol, has been shown to reduce the number of visits to health clinics in children.
With proper doses of vitamin A, women with menorrhagia (abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding in menstruation), have had a 92% cure rate.
Proper dosing of vitamin A has been shown to reduce the number of new primary tumors related to tobacco consumption.
Smoking can deplete vitamin A and, thereby, can lead to lung cancer.
Moral of the Story
When you choose what you're eating today, be sure to include foods that are nutrient-dense from the rainbow of fruits and vegetables in green, red, yellow and orange. Treat your body well. It's the only one you're gonna get.
Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin A. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/
Vitamin A. (2019, July 2). Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-a/
Hovis, B. S. (n.d.). Vitamins & Minerals. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://trinityschool.instructure.com/courses/499/pages/week-1-lecture-3-vitamins-and-minerals
Kmiec, M. (2020, February 4). Is Vitamin A (Retinol) Really Toxic? Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.onlineholistichealth.com/is-vitamin-a-retinol-really-toxic/
Xue, Y., Harris, E., Wang, W., & Baybutt, R. C. (2015, October 14). Vitamin A depletion induced by cigarette smoke is associated with an increase in lung cancer-related markers in rats. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4605095/