Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is also a powerful antioxidant. It is involved in reducing inflammation by fighting against free radical damage in our bodies. Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological functions and healthy skin. It is also responsible for building strong bones and supporting immune function.
Vitamin A is found in two forms, active Vitamin A and beta carotene. Active Vitamin A comes from animal-based foods and is referred to as retinol. This form of Vitamin A can be used immediately by the body, so it does not need to first be converted. Beta carotene is the other form of Vitamin A. We can obtain this from colourful fruits and vegetables. Beta carotene needs to first be converted into active Vitamin A in order for the body to be able to utilize it.
It is recommend that we try to obtain our Vitamin A primarily by a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods whenever possible, rather than from supplements. Some of the best sources of Vitamin A include eggs, milk, liver, yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and squash. It is also found in spinach, and other leafy greens.
High doses of vitamin A may actually do more harm than good. Consuming too much Vitamin A from supplementation alone, or in combination with other antioxidants, has been associated with birth defects, lower bone density, and liver problems. If you are planning on supplementing with this, first consult your doctor or pharmacist to insure that it is a safe supplement for you to consume and that it won’t conflict with any current medications you may be taking. Be sure to take lower doses and use supplements from food based sources.