Vitamin A is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Unlike water-soluble vitamins, excess amounts of fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body, and if consumed too much, can reach dangerous levels. You can learn more about these fat-soluble vitamins by checking out my Micronutrient Monday series.
What is the Role of Vitamin A in the Body?
Vitamin A supports many systems throughout the body and is essential for normal vision, immune support and reproduction. Vitamin A is also essential in supporting organs, such as the heart and kidneys function correctly.
How Much Vitamin A Do I Need?
Am I At Risk of Vitamin A Deficiency?
- Premature infants
- Infants and children in developing countries
- Pregnant and lactating women in developing countries
- Individuals with cystic fibrosis
The most common symptom of vitamin A is xerophthalmia. Early signs of xerophthalmia include, reduced ability to see in low-light and night blindness.
Where Can I Find Vitamin A?
There are two different kinds of vitamin A,
- Pre-formed vitamin A
- Provitamin A
Provitamin A is commonly found in plant products, including fruits and vegetables, while pre-formed vitamin A can be found in meat, fish, poultry and dairy products.
Some foods that are particularly rich in vitamin A include,
- Beef liver
- Sweet potato
- Ricotta cheese
- Atlantic herring
- Red sweet pepper
Vitamin A can also be found in supplements on its own or in combination with other vitamins such as multivitamins. Supplements may contain both preformed and pro-vitamin A, and often state the amount of each form on the bottle.
Interaction with Medications
Vitamin A can interact with some medications. Additionally, some medications can impact vitamin A levels in the body. Some medications to look out for include,
Additionally, vitamin A can be found in many prescription medications. Consuming supplements in combination with these medications can lead to dangerously high levels of vitamin A in the body. It’s important to chat with your doctor or healthcare team before starting any new supplements.
For more on the role of vitamins and minerals in promoting health and supporting our bodies, check out the Micronutrient Monday series.
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