Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for the body and is fat soluble, which means it is stored in fat, so we rarely become deficient of it. Taking too much of it can cause poisoning.
Vitamin A is necessary for the healthy and normal function of our vision, skin, immune system, and skeletal system. It also helps the lungs, heart, kidneys, and other organs work.
There are 2 types of vitamin A: one is an active form—retinol—found in meats, fish, poultry, and dairy items; the other is the dark pigments found in many plants, fruits, and vegetables called carotenoids, which are pro-vitamins like beta-carotene that later become active vitamin A.
Reasons to Take Vitamin A
• Improves the eye's adaptation to darkness
• Leads to better cornea health
• Reduces potential xeropthalmia (significant eye dryness)
• Prevents retinal damage
• Helps dry skin and fragile nails
• Increases immunity
Recommended Daily Allowance
0-6 months: 400micrograms (1,300IU)
7-12 months: 500mcg (1,600IU)
1-3 years: 300mcg (1,000 IU)
4-8 years: 400mcg (1,300IU)
9-13 years: 600mcg (2,000IU)
Adolescents & Adults:
Males >14years: 900mcg (3,000IU)
Females >14 years: 700mcg (2,300IU)
Pregnant Females: 770mcg (2,600IU)
Breastfeeding Females: 1,300mcg (4,300IU)
Commercial products of vitamin A are labelled in International Units (IU). It is taken orally. The FDA recommends those ages 4 and older consume a variety of plant based and animal food sources of vitamin A for a daily value of 5,000 IU.
If there are any questions regarding the calculation for your daily intake, contact your health provider.
What if I Take Too Much?
Acute vitamin A toxicity happens when an adult takes over a few hundred thousand IUs at once, or chronic poisoning from over 25,000 IU daily.
Babies and younger children are most sensitive, and at risk when they get into other products. For instance, an accidental ingestion of mom's facial cream containing retinol could lead to vitamin A toxicity.
Symptoms of Vitamin A Toxicity:
• Abdominal Pain
• Irritability in babies/children
Excessive Beta-carotene does not cause toxicity or illness. However when babies are carrot lovers and fed carrots or other orange foods frequently, their skin turns yellow/ orange and often panics parents. It is reversible with a brief stoppage and future reduction in orange food!
Who Is at Risk for Deficiency?
People with low vitamin level due to:
• Protein deficiencies
• Liver disease
• Intestinal diseases
• Cystic Fibrosis
Natural Food Sources of Vitamin A
Vitamin A deficiency is rare since it is so prevalent in foods. Vitamin A levels will be adequate if you consume a diet rich in:
Dairy Products: Many dairy products are fortified with vitamin A.
Fruits and Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables as well as vegetables yellow and orange in color, such as carrots, squash, broccoli, and kale, are a good source for vitamin A, as are orange fruits, such as mangoes, cantaloupe, and apricots. The more color, the more beta-carotene.
Animal Sources: Organ meats such as liver, heart, and kidney are very high in vitamin A. They will elevate cholesterol, however, so should be limited. Eggs have less cholesterol comparatively. Salmon and Fish Oil are alternatives.
Fortified Cereals: Some cereals are fortified with vitamin A.
The Best Way to Take Supplements
Vitamin A is only given orally by pill form in the outpatient setting.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should contact your medical provider. Filtur is happy to help with any of your supplement needs. Price compare eye and vision supplements on Filtur.