What is Vitamin A?

If you’re wondering what vitamin is responsible for your healthy looking skin, Vitamin A or retinol would be the answer. But there are also other benefits of this vitamin besides the skin and they include the teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, and mucus membranes.

It has also been termed Retinol A because it is responsible for the production of the pigments in the retina of the eye.

Have you ever wondered why some people can see really well in low or poor lighting conditions? That’s because it helps promote good vision.

Retinol is an active form of this vitamin and it is found in animal liver, whole milk, and some fortified foods.

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What the benefits of Vitamin A?

Carotenoids are dark-colored dyes (pigments) found in plant foods that can turn into a form of Vitamin Ait. There are more than 500 known carotenoids. One such carotenoid is beta-carotene.

One of the other benefits of this vitamin is that Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by substances called free radicals. Free radicals are known to play an important role in chronic diseases along with the aging process.

Food sources of carotenoids such as beta-carotene may reduce the risk for cancer.

Beta-carotene supplements do not seem to reduce cancer risk.

What foods contain Vitamin A?

Vitamin A comes from animal sources, such as eggs, meat, fortified milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, cod, and halibut fish oil. However, all of these sources — except for skim milk that has been fortified with this vitamin  — are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Other foods with it include beta-carotene and the following:

Bright yellow and orange fruits such as cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, and apricots

Vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and winter squash

Other sources of beta-carotene include broccoli, spinach, and most dark green, leafy vegetables.

The rule of thumb is that a more intensity of the color of a fruit or vegetable will insure a higher the beta-carotene content. Vegetable sources of beta-carotene are fat- and cholesterol-free.

What can happen from a Vitamin A deficiency?

Lack of it can result in infectious diseases and vision problems. However, if you get too much vitamin A, you can become sick. Birth defects have been known to occur from overdoses of Vitamin A..

Other related problems…

Acute Vitamin A poisoning can happen if an individual ingests several hundred thousand IUs of it. Studies have shown that adults taking an average of 25,000IU a day are good candidates for chronic vitamin A poisoning.

Babies and youngsters have shown side effects to this vitamin even in small doses. Always check with your physician before giving your child any vitamins or retin.

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