You have heard that Vitamin A is important, but do you really know much about it beyond that it's good for the eyes and found in orange foods like carrots? There are some basics that everyone should know about this special nutrient and how to choose the best one for you!
Vitamin A is actually a vitamin family that includes Retinol, and usually the carotenoids. Many pharmacies sell Vitamin A in its synthetic form (acetate) which has been shown to cause birth defects and toxicity when taken for prolonged periods of time. Luckily most health foods stores only carry the natural forms of Vitamin A and so you are left to figure out which one is best for you or if you need to take it at all. Vitamin A is essential for the following metabolic functions: vision, gene transcription, immune function, embryonic development, bone metabolism, skin health and its natural antioxidant activity. If you find it in your multivitamin and you consume Vitamin A-rich foods daily, it is unlikely that you need to supplement with a Vitamin A product at all, unless directed by your qualified health-care practitioner.
The safest way to contribute to healthy Vitamin A levels in the body is by taking what are called “ProVitamins” - aka. A substance that your body can transform into Vitamin A and utilize as-needed without the risk of toxicity. Such substances, in the case of Vitamin A, are the carotenoid family, especially Beta-carotene. I recommend products like BetaCareAll by Natural Factors for its full-spectrum carotenoid complex found in a similar way to how we would get it in nature. Your body takes what it needs and leaves the rest.
Vitamin A-rich foods include: turkey liver, dandelion greens, carrots, sweet potatos, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens and cantaloupe melons.