Vitamin A for Health
Exactly what is Vitamin A, and what is it good for? Fat soluble Vitamin A is a compound found in many foods and can be found in supplement form. Humans need Vitamin A to help regulate many functions inside the body. It is good for a number of things- including bone health, boosting immune systems, and the maintenance of mucous membranes that line everything from the mouth through the urinary tract. It helps your body resist infections, grow, guard against cancers, promote healthy eyes, defend against stress, and much more.
The liver is in charge of storing Vitamin A. When the body is in need of the vitamin, it will pull Vitamin A from the liver, helping to regulate it in the body.
How Much Vitamin A?
According to the National Institutes of Health National Resource Center, children ages 1 to 8 need between 1,000-1,500 IU of Vitamin A daily, while children 9 to adulthood need between 2,000-3,000 IU. Lactating women should consume at least 4,000 IU daily. To obtain this amount, eating at least 5 servings a day of fruits and veggies should be sufficient. During the 1980s, the IU amount of Vitamin was thought to be much higher, but studies have shown that too much Vitamin A as a supplement can have harmful affects on the body.
Vitamin A Foods & Supplements
Vitamin supplements can be found at retail stores, including many dollar stores. Keep in mind, vitamins in caplet or tablet form are too hard to digest, especially for those who have poor digestion already. What does this mean? It means when you are taking vitamin supplements you may not be getting the amount you think you are getting. It is best to take vitamin supplements in liquid and gel forms. To help you get the best Vitamin A possible, I have included a list of vitamin sources from easy to find foods.
- 1 large hard-boiled egg (260 IU)
- 1/4 cup fortified egg substitute (1, 355 IU)
- 1 medium sweet potato (11,900 IU)
- 1 oz. cheddar cheese (300 IU)
- 1/2 cup cooked kale (4, 560 IU)
- 1/2 cup fresh cooked peas (430 IU)
- 1 raw 7 1/2 inch carrot (8, 666 IU)
- 1 medium peach (320 IU)
Too Much Vitamin A
Often, people will take extra vitamins, minerals, or herbs thinking this will help them heal faster or make them healthier, but this is simply not true. Too much Vitamin A can lead to deep bone pain, headaches, vomiting, dizziness, hair loss, and blurred vision. The best way to avoid taking an over amount of Vitamin A is to get it from foods.
“Vitamin A and Bone Health“, National Institutes of Health.gov
“Vitamin A and Carotenoids“, Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet, National Institutes of Health.gov