Facts Of Vitamin A

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Overview

Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin, plays an important role in bone growth, reproduction, immune function, hormone synthesis and regulation, and vision. Your eyes need vitamin A to help them convert light into brain signals that allow you to perceive images. Vitamin A works to protect you against infection by helping create healthy white blood cells and by promoting healthy skin. Vitamin A helps cells divide and develop into specialized cells, like blood cells, lung cells, brain cells and other distinct tissues.

Best Food Sources

Preformed vitamin A (a.k.a. retinol) is found in foods of animal origin, such as liver, eggs, milk fortified with vitamin A, fortified cereals and fish. Green leafy vegetables and orange vegetables and fruits supply vitamin A in the form of carotenoids. To easily meet your recommended intakes, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests 3 cups per week of dark leafy green vegetables and 2 cups per week of orange vegetables. Also, you need to understand that you can get vitamin A from animal or plant sources and that these sources are treated differently by the body. Vitamin A from animal foods, supplements and fortified foods is called “preformed vitamin A,” or retinol. Preformed vitamin A is in a form that is highly available to your body. Vitamin A from plant sources comes in the form of carotenoids, primarily beta carotene. To account for the absorption of different forms of vitamin A, scientists created a unit called retinol activity equivalent (RAE). For example, 12 micrograms (mcg) of beta carotene equals 1 mcg of retinol. To complicate matters, nutrition and supplement labels don’t use RAEs; instead they use International Units (IU). We’ve done the conversions for you.

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CONDITIONS FOR VITAMIN A

  • Dry Eyes
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Night Blindness

TOP SIGNS OF VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY

  • Dry, Rough, Or Cracked Skin
  • Inability To Perspire
  • Nerve Damage
  • Poor Night Vision
  • Reduced Ability To Taste, Hear, And Smell

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