What is Vitamin A? Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is a vital vitamin needed by the human body. It is fat soluble and is usually maintained in the liver. The recommended daily needs for this vitamin are easily met by eating a variety of non-vegetarian and vegetarian foods.
Vitamin A has multiple roles in the body; it is essential for the development of collagen, the cell which gives skin its elasticity, and the development of blood cells. The absorption of iron into the blood is increased when vitamin A is present in the diet. This vitamin is found in many fruits and vegetables, as well as in leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. Vitamin A has also been found to be effective in treating night blindness and other visual impairments. Vision health is enhanced when vitamin A is taken as a supplement. However, the best source of vitamin A is beta-carotene, which is found in carrots.
There are two types of vitamin A: retinol and retinoic acid. As its name implies, the first type is a fat-soluble vitamin; it is found in fish oil, liver, nuts, seeds, and dairy products, as well as in some foods such as tomatoes and egg yolks. The second type is a water-soluble vitamin A and is found in most vitamin A supplements. Although both types are important, vitamin A that is stored in fat tissues does hold more benefits than vitamin A that is transported to the bloodstream through the blood stream.
When we obtain vitamin A from our diet, the body cannot make it; hence, a process called conversion. Conversion is a slow process that ensures the proper absorption and utilization of vitamin A. To ensure that vitamin A stays in the cell, it is necessary for the liver to create vitamin A from the fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are found in animal products like red meat, milk, and cheese.
Some foods are naturally low in vitamin A. This includes cod, Herring, trout, salmon, and seaweed. In case you are consuming vitamin A-rich foods with no health advantage (and you’re not consuming liver oil, which is rich in vitamin A), it’s best to take a vitamin A supplement on a regular basis. In fact, a diet rich in vitamin A can protect against age-related vision problems, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. In addition, vitamin A is beneficial in preventing conditions related to fluid retention in the eye.
Vitamin A Health Benefits
How much vitamin A should you eat? According to health experts, you need to consume about 30 international units per day for good visual health. However, when it comes to preformed vitamin A, it is recommended that you get only enough to prevent vitamin deficiency, not to achieve an excessive intake. Although preformed vitamin A is considered to be safe, this nutrient also has its own risks.
When it comes to preformed vitamin A, most health experts suggest that you consume enough of it to keep your eyesight healthy and improve your heart health. However, when it comes to preformed vitamin B6, it is better to eat more of it to make sure that you get sufficient amounts of this nutrient for good vision and strong heart health. Both nutrients work in cooperation to protect your body’s arteries and minimize risks for cardiovascular disease and hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, then eating more of these vitamins can lower your risk.
Aside from preformed vitamin A and vitamin B6, there are also other vitamin a-rich foods that you should include in your diet. These include vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin; beta carotene, an essential vitamin to maintain healthy skin; and other important nutrients such as those in vitamin C and vitamin A. Consume more of foods rich in these vitamins to reap the health benefits of them and to avoid vitamin deficiency or toxicity.