Health BENEFITS of Vitamin A:
- works as an antioxidant fighting damaging free radicals
- promotes healthy eyes, bones, and skin
- supports fertility and reproductive health
- aids in red blood cell production
- assists in producing hormones
- helps reduce chronic inflammation
- aids in slowing down cancer growth
- supports a strong immune system
- promotes normal cell function and fetal development
Foods HIGH in Vitamin A (Retinol - Animal Sources):
- beef liver
- butter (grass-fed)
- ghee (grass fed)
- heavy cream
- organ meats
Foods HIGH in Vitamin A (Carotenoids - Plant Sources):
Things to KNOW About Vitamin A:
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it's absorbed along with dietary fat and can be stored in the liver and fatty tissues for later use. Consuming foods high in vitamin A along with some dietary fat will increase absorption of vitamin A.
Vitamin A comes from two different sources: animals and plants. The vitamin A found in animal foods is called preformed vitamin A or retinol. This source of vitamin A is complete, or preformed, and can be readily used by the body.
The vitamin A found in plant foods (the orange/red pigment found in many fruits and vegetables) is called provitamin A carotenoids. This source of vitamin A is a precursor to retinol. Provitamin A carotenoids must be converted by the liver into retinol before it can be used by the body. The most abundant provitamin A carotenoid is called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is also the carotenoid most efficiently converted into retinol by the liver.
Some carotenoids, such as lycopene, lutein, and zeanxanthin are considered non-provitamin A carotenoids, because they cannot be converted into retinol by the liver, but they offer other benefits.
Carotenoids are considered phytonutrients because they are beneficial to our health and help prevent various diseases. Carotenoids have important biological functions including acting as antioxidants to protect the body from cell damage.
High intakes of vitamin A may cause a yellowish tone to the skin. This usually disappears once consumption is reduced or stopped. Since most vitamin A is stored in the liver, dietary intake or supplementation of large amounts over time can exceed the liver's storage capacity, which can produce adverse effects such as headaches, vomiting, or even liver damage.