The key to sharp vision, clear skin and a strong immune system, Vitamin A plays a major role in maintaining optimal health and well being. This fat soluble vitamin is made up of a number of substances, mainly Retinol, or the active form of Vitamin A, that comes from animal sources and Beta-Carotene, which is found in fruit and vegetable and is converted in the active form of Vitamin A by the body.
A sufficient amount of Vitamin A intake is essential for clear vision especially night vision as it plays a major role in enabling the eyes to see properly in less light. It is involved in the genetic regulation of cells and tissue formation and necessary for the proper growth of the embryo in the womb. Vitamin A keeps skin and mucous membranes healthy and provides protection against infections by strengthening the bodies defense systems.
There is positive evidence that Vitamin A can prevent certain cancers, like Breast Cancer and Lung Cancer.
Beta-Carotene, or the form of Vitamin A found in vegetable and fruit, is a powerful anti-oxidant and protects the body from harmful effects of free radicals which are responsible for cell damage and ageing.
Vitamin A is found in abundance in:
- Fish Oil
- Milk and Dairy Products
The best plant sources of Vitamin A are:
- Butternut squash,
- Sweet potatoes,
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to serious health problems. The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A for adults is 3,000 mcg/day or (10,000 IU/day).
Excessive intake of Vitamin A supplements can result in toxicity and should be taken with caution. However there is no upper limit for Vitamin A intake from plant sources.