Vitamin A: Health Benefits, Best Foods, and More

While I can’t stress enough just how important all the vitamins and minerals are for your overall well being, today we’re going to focus on vitamin A. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, a powerful antioxidant, and part of a family of compounds that are vitally important to the body. It supports the immune system, helps strengthen vision, assists with normal organ function, reproduction, and more. [1]

Vitamins are important for maintaining good health and if you don’t get what you need, vitamin deficiencies and health problems can result. Many people take a multivitamin as a precaution, some do not.

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Basic Forms of Vitamin A

Retinoids

This class of compounds plays an important role for healthy vision, cell and bone tissue growth, and immune function. And it’s because of that they’re often used in medicine. However, vitamin A in this form can only be found naturally in animal products like liver, eggs, and milk, so vegetarians and (especially) vegans need to be aware of where they’re getting their vitamin A.

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In contrast, carotenoids like beta-carotene are found in plant sources like vegetables and fruits. Like retinoids, carotenoids can also help maintain healthy skin, eyes, and boost the immune system. [2] [3] Carotenoids like the one found in kale, carrots, and other vegetables have to be converted into a usable form of vitamin A (retinol) by the body. [4]

Best Vitamin A Foods

Vitamin A is available from a variety of food sources. The recommended daily intake varies with age and other circumstances.[1]Pregnant or lactating women can normally benefit from taking more each day. As always, consult with your doctor about any major dietary changes you are considering. If you would benefit from more vitamin A foods in your diet, there are a number of great options. [5]

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