- Vitamins are the biggest money maker in the pharmaceutical industry. You no doubt see countless commercials and for profit doctors trying to tell you that you should be taking a million vitamin supplements a day. But in truth, you can probably get in all of the essential vitamins and minerals you need from food alone! Not only is this cheaper and easier than taking vitamin supplements, but the body actually absorbs vitamins more efficiently from food, so you’ll be getting much more bang for your buck! As an added bonus, fruits and vegetables actually contain antioxidants and can have other added benefits which supplements don’t have! However, supplements can be a beneficial way to get in your dietary requirments if you have a food restriction, or if you just have difficulty getting in your daily dosage of vitamins every day.
There are 3 forms basic forms of vitamin A: retinols, beta carotenes, and carotenoids. Retinol, is active preformed vitamin A. Retinol is usually found in meat or animal by-products, it is the predominant form of vitamin A in humans. Beta carotene, or provitamin A, is the plant source of retinol. Two- thirds of mammalian vitamin a is made by converting beta carotene into retinol. Carotenoids, are the largest vitamin A group, they are plant pigments that help facilitate photosynthesis and are indirectly responsible for bright red, yellow and orange hues in many fruits and vegetables. Major carotenoids include: lycopene, lutein, and zeaxantuin.
Here is a guide to everything you need to know about Vitamin A:
- Vitamin A: helps improve vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell function, and immune function.
- Vegetarians, young children, and alcoholics may need extra Vitamin A.
- You might also need more if you have certain conditions, such as liver diseases, cystic fibrosis, and Cohn’s disease.
- Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin so it is important not take more than the daily dosage. Fat-soluble vitamins stay in human fat cells and may cause organ failure if taken in too high dosage.
- Antioxidants help slow or prevent cell damage.
- 12 units of beta-carotene or 24 units of other carotenoids= 1 unit of retinol in the body.
- Taking large doses of retinol can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dry, scaly skin.
- In extreme cases Vitamin A toxicity may lead to: liver damage, osteoporosis, nervous system disorders, and death.
- Keep your total vitamin A intake less than 3,000 µg per day from retinol.
- Pregnant women should avoid supplemental, preformed vitamin A.