Vitamin A

I plan for this to be the first post in a series about vitamins. I figured I’d start in ABC order, which is in fact how the vitamins were named — in the order they were ‘discovered’. In my Introductory Nutrition class we are learning about vitamins and minerals, so I happily share my new knowledge here.

Why we need Vitamin A:

  • to see in color
  • for our eyes to adjust in change of light
  • to be fertile (both men and women)
  • to help bones
  • to help immune system

How much do we need? 

  • RDA for Men: 900 micrograms/day
  • RDA for Women: 700 micrograms/day
  • Do not exceed 3,000 micrograms/day

Where is it found? 

  • animal products (which I don’t advocate consuming, this is just for education): beef & chicken liver, egg yolks, milk
  • plant products (eat these!): spinach, carrots, mango, apricots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, yams. One cup of canned pumpkin will meet (and exceed) the daily vitamin A requirement (for men and women). Or a cup of cooked carrots. Or 20 pieces of asparagus.

What else? 

  • It is important you do not go over 3,000 micrograms/day, and it is recommended you get your vitamin A from food sources, not from supplements. A section in my Nutrition textbook states: “it is much easier to develop a toxic overload of nutrients from supplements than it is from foods…the use of high-potency supplements of vitamins A, C, and E may actually increase rates of death.” No bueno. The toxic overload they are talking about causes birth defects, hair loss, skin disorders, blurred vision, bone/joint pain, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and liver damage.
  • On the other hand, if you don’t consume enough over a stretch of time — this happens mostly in developing countries — you could develop night blindness, and if left untreated will develop into full-on blindness because it hardens the cornea to the point of no return. You could also develop impaired immunity, increased risk for infections, have reproductive system problems, and stunted growth if you’re a kid.
  • Vitamin A may act as an antioxidant, which by definition means the prevention or stopping of oxidation, which produces free radicals
  • The Internet is full of sites that will claim a link between vitamin A deficiency and acne, but this textbook states: “Contrary to what you might read on the Internet, vitamin A itself has no effect on acne; thus, vitamin A supplements are not recommended in its treatment.”

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Thompson, Janice & Manore, Melinda. Nutrition: An Applied Approach, 3rd Ed. Copyright (c) 2012 Pearson Education, Inc.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] This is the second post in my vitamin series. Vitamin A is here.  […]

    Reply

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