There are a multitude of vitamins and minerals that one should be taken daily. Well balanced meals are a must have! However, many individuals do not always make the best choices when it comes to eating the right foods.
Don’t worry you’re not alone, whether you eat right every day or not! 😊
Nonetheless, one of the first discovered vitamins in the early 1910s, just so happens to start with the letter A. In 1913, two groups of biochemists discovered that Vitamin A appeared inside of a “fat soluble” (accessory food substance) found in milk. As the years passed Vitamin A was found in many other foods, such as:
- Carrots (well known)
- Leafy green vegetable (kale, spinach, broccoli)
- Orange and yellow vegetables (sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter & summer squash)
- Red bell pepper
- Mango (including mango butter)
- Fish oils
So, what exactly is Vitamin A and what does it do for the body?
Vitamin A (retinol, retinoic acid) is a nutrient important to vision, growth, cell division, reproduction, and immunity. Vitamin A also has antioxidant properties which are substances that might protect your cells against the effects of free radicals (molecules produced when your body breaks down food).
Skin care brands have utilized infused vitamin A oils to place into moisturizers, creams, soaps, and body butters. The use of Vitamin A in the skin care products helps with keeping supple and rejuvenating glowing skin. Also, Vitamin A is included in treatments for acne, and other skin conditions including wrinkles.
The bottom line is Vitamin A is vital for many of your important processes in the body. It is used to maintain healthy vision, ensure the normal functioning of your organs and immune system, as well as establishing normal growth and development of babies in the womb. Both too little and too much vitamin A could have negative effects on your health.
The nutritional recommendation of daily consumption of Vitamin A is 900 mcg for men, 700 mcg for women, and children/adolescents is 300–600 mcg. These recommendations will allow your body to operate at it’s best. However, there are some pitfalls if you’re getting improper dosages from an overconsumption in a supplement or meal.
In accordance with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, conditions that interfere with normal digestion can lead to vitamin A malabsorption such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, cirrhosis, alcoholism, specific types of leukemia, and cystic fibrosis. Also adults and children who eat a very limited diet due to poverty or self-restriction are highly at risk of malnutrition of vitamin A. Mild vitamin A deficiency may cause fatigue, susceptibility to infections, and infertility. The following are signs of a more serious deficiency:
- Xerophthalmia, a severe dryness of the eye that if untreated can lead to blindness
- Nyctalopia or night blindness
- Irregular patches on the white of the eyes
- Dry skin or hair
Ultimately keeping a healthy well balanced diet will allow you to gain all the positive benefits of Vitamin A to it’s fullest! Stay hale and hearty! 😊
Vitamine—vitamin. The early years of discovery | Clinical Chemistry | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
Vitamin A | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
6 Health Benefits of Vitamin A, Backed by Science (healthline.com)