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.


Benefits:

  • 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:

  • Dairy products

  • 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

  • Beef liver

  • Eggs

  • Butter

  • Sunflower seeds

Herbs that provide vitamin A:

  • Spirulina

  • Gotu

  • Kola

  • Barley grass

  • Yellow Dock

  • Uva Ursi

  • Peppermint

  • Parsley

  • Alfalfa

Signs of Deficiency

  • Night blindness

  • 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

  • Poor growth

  • Ear infections

  • 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

  • Bone pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Dry skin

  • Sensitivity to bright light like the sun

Avoid

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.


Research Shows

  • 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/




MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Cynthia A. Barrington nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.