Vitamin A is one of the crucial nutrients that contribute to your overall well-being. It has numerous roles in the body – it protects your eyesight, boosts your immunity, keeps your skin young and healthy, etc. Some studies also suggest that it has anti-cancerogenic properties.
Even though it’s an essential vitamin involved in a lot of bodily processes, the human body can’t produce it on its own. The only way to obtain it is by including it in your diet. Good food sources are eggs, beef liver, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, trout), cheddar cheese, as well as the vegan sources – sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, red peppers, and cantaloupe. For those of you that have busy lifestyles and little time to prepare healthy meals – opt for ready-made meals instead.
However, a lot of people with poor diets or on a particular regime that excludes the foods mentioned above suffer from vitamin A deficiency. In this case, supplementing can help a great deal.
Consider Using Vitamin A Supplements
It’s often hard to reach the recommended daily dose of this nutrient solely through food. Since it’s not produced in the human body, it’s especially hard for those that are vegan and have more limited food options.
For this reason, it’s good to include vitamin A supplements in your diet. You can find them in the form of capsules or potent cod liver oil which contains up to 15 mcg of the vitamin per gram. These supplements support your immune system, as well as your skin and eye health. Cod liver oil additionally contains vitamin D, which strengthens your bones, teeth, and muscles.
What Is Vitamin A Made Of?
Vitamin A is an essential vitamin that is of great importance for your health. Because it’s fat-soluble, it’s best absorbed when you consume it with fatty food (healthy fat, of course – avocados and nuts are great examples). People often consider it as a singular nutrient, but in fact, it consists of a group of nutrients such as retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters.
Provitamin A carotenoids are present in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and oils, whereas preformed A vitamins are primarily found in animal foods. The body turns these vitamin forms into retinal and retinoic acid. Vitamin A is stored in your body’s tissues (usually in the liver) for later use.
What Are Its Benefits?
Protects Your Eyes
The most popular trait of this vitamin is that it’s beneficial for your eyesight. Most people remember their parents telling them about how eating carrots will give them super-vision at some point. While a single food can’t drastically change your eye health, this statement has a dose of truth. This vitamin plays an important role when converting light into signals that need to be sent to the brain.
People with an A vitamin deficiency often experience impaired vision in low-light conditions. They also experience considerable worsening of their eyesight as they age. This is certainly bad news since AMD (age-related macular degeneration) is a common cause of blindness all across the world. Luckily, many studies have shown that by taking an antioxidant supplement containing beta-carotene, people have managed to reverse this degeneration by 25%.
Supports Your Immunity
A lesser-known fact about vitamin A is that it has anti-inflammatory properties. This vitamin helps keep your immune system in check and guards you against certain diseases. It has a role in creating certain cells that improve your immune system’s response to infection. Being deficient in this nutrient weakens your immune system and its function.
Vital for a Healthy Reproductive System
This vitamin has a large role in maintaining a fully-functioning reproductive system for both males and females. Studies show that deficiency of this nutrient causes reproductive problems. One study done on rats showed that deficiency causes infertility in males and lower egg quality in females.
Vitamin A is also an essential nutrient for foetal development. It ensures that the embryo grows and develops normally during pregnancy. It aids in the growth of all the major organs and structures of an unborn child, such as the nervous system, heart, eyes, lungs, and skeleton. However, even though it’s one of the most important vitamins for a pregnant woman, too much of it can cause harm and lead to birth defects.
Keeps Acne at Bay
Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder that is common in both children and adults. People develop it on different areas of their bodies, such as the face, back, and chest. They occur as a result of glands that are clogged up with oils and dead skin. While this disorder doesn’t affect people physically, it often has a big impact on their mental health. A lot of vitamin A products in skincare show surprising results in treating acne.
This nutrient is essential for maintaining happy and healthy skin. It helps your skin retain its plumpness and elasticity by increasing collagen production. It also protects you against wrinkles and it’s found in a lot of anti-aging creams.
Protects Against Free Radicals
Precursors of this vitamin, such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin prove to have antioxidant properties. This means that they offer you protection from free radicals – harmful molecules that create oxidative stress in your body. These molecules are linked to health problems such as diabetes, cancers, heart disease, and decline in cognitive function. Taking vitamin A supplements can help to protect you against these chronic conditions.
May Protect You from Cancer
Lastly, the A vitamin also shows potency in protecting you against certain cancers – which is another important reason to include it in your diet. Cancers are a result of abnormal or uncontrolled cell growth. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that aids the growth and development of cells, so scientists are taking a large interest in its anti-cancerogenic properties.
A certain study showed that eating high amounts of beta-carotene is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cervical, lung, and bladder cancer. However, this study only associated plant-based foods with this effect, while animal foods with high amounts of this vitamin showed no such results.