What are the health benefits of vitamin A?

Vitamin A supports healthy skin, vision, and bones and promotes healthy immune system function. Vitamin A is especially important for night vision. When our body is vitamin A-deficient, our eyes gradually lose their ability to adapt to light changes, resulting in “night blindness.” Vitamin A helps with the formation, maintenance, and growth of the skin, our body’s primary barrier, and it’s also an important antioxidant for our immune system.

What are the types of vitamin A?

There are two different types of vitamin A: preformed vitamin A (retinol), which is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products, and provitamin A (beta carotene), which is found in fruits, vegetables, and plant-based products. The most common type of provitamin A found in food and supplements is beta-carotene.

What is the recommended dose of vitamin A?

The recommended dose of vitamin A varies based on age, gender, and individual health conditions. Generally, for adults aged 19 years and older, the average daily recommended amounts are 900 micrograms (mcg) for men and 700 mcg for women. For pregnant women, it's advised to consume around 770 mcg per day and lactating women should aim for about 1,300 mcg each day. It's important to remember that excessive intake can lead to toxicity, so we should consult a healthcare professional before starting a supplement regimen.

What is the history of vitamin A?

Vitamin A, an essential nutrient known for its role in maintaining vision and supporting immune health, has a rich history. Its discovery dates back to the early 20th century when scientists were investigating the effects of diet on animal growth and development. In 1913, Frederick Gowland Hopkins discovered an unknown substance in milk fat, which he named "fat-soluble factor A," later recognized as vitamin A. Since then, research into this vital nutrient has significantly expanded our understanding of its importance in human health. From supporting healthy night vision for soldiers in World War II to modern-day uses in skin care products and eye health supplements, vitamin A continues to be a crucial part of our dietary needs.

What are the signs of vitamin A deficiency?

Vitamin A deficiency can have significant impacts on our health, and it's important to understand the signs so we can address them promptly. Some side effects of vitamin A deficiency include dry skin and poor night vision. If we’re experiencing unexplained fatigue or noticeable changes in our skin and eyes, these could be indications that we may not be getting enough vitamin A. We recommend consulting your healthcare professional to test your vitamin levels.

Which foods contain vitamin A?

Foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and kale are packed with beta carotene, a type of Vitamin A that our bodies convert into active Vitamin A. Other sources include fish like salmon and tuna which contain retinol, another form of vitamin A.

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