What is Vitamin A? What are the benefits of Vitamin A?
Vitamin A, also commonly referred to as Retinol, is excellent for the eyes, the skin and the mucous membranes. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that needs to be taken in controlled dosages, and that is available in a number of different natural food sources.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is best known for its positive effects on helping the eyes adjust to changes in the light. Vitamin A contributes to the overall health of the eyes, the skin and the mucous membranes. This particular vitamin, which is also commonly referred to as Retinol, can be mostly found in animal food sources, but there are also a number of plant based food sources that supply beta carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A within the body. Vitamin A is also generally regarded as an excellent antioxidant, which means that it is responsible for neutralizing the free radicals within the body that cause damage to cells and tissue.
It has been suggested by scientific studies in the past that beta carotene and Vitamin A can help people who have Coronary Artery Disease or CAD. However, it is not recommended that beta carotene or Vitamin A supplements be taken for this purpose yet, until more scientific research can be conducted. It is already known that Vitamin A and beta carotene have a positive effect on the body, though it is not yet known what exactly Vitamin A can do for the body, especially when it comes to Coronary Artery Disease or CAD.
Vitamins are most commonly categorized based on what materials they can be dissolved in, and for that reason, Vitamin A is categorized as a fat soluble vitamin. Other fat soluble vitamins include vitamins D, E and K. The alternative is vitamins that are water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins are stored within the fat tissue in the body, and they can be stored from as little as a few days until as many as six months. If you ingest too much of a fat soluble vitamin, it can be stored in the wrong place such as your liver, which can cause problems in your body. Fat soluble vitamins should never be taken in large doses, as this can lead to toxicity issues.
There are actually a number of health problems that make it difficult for people to absorb vitamins like Vitamin A. It is important to know how vitamin absorption will be affected by chronic health conditions. It is also important to know how much Vitamin A you need to consume for your optimum health. It is generally recommended that women consume around 800 mcg of Vitamin A, and that men consume 1000 mcg of Vitamin A daily for optimum health. Luckily, there are a number of sources of Vitamin A available, including beef liver, cheddar cheese, fortified milk, egg yolk, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli, apricots, cantaloupe and spinach or other collared greens.
Vitamin A deficiencies are not all too common in the United States, but when this vitamin deficiency does occur, it can cause night blindness, inflammation of the eyes, diarrhea and a variety of other problems. Over consuming vitamin A on the other hand can cause problems relating to irritability, nausea, blurred vision and many other issues. Someone who takes too much vitamin A can have their feet and hands turn orange. Serious Vitamin A toxicity can cause hair loss, an enlarged spleen and liver, and even growth retardation in severe forms. For this very reason, it is important for you to understand how much vitamin A you are getting in your diet. If you are getting enough vitamin A and beta carotene in your food products, there is no need to take a vitamin supplement.
If you want to get the most amounts of vitamins possible from your foods, then you should immediately refrigerate your fresh produce products, and should keep milk and grain products out of strong amounts of light. The vitamins in your foods are easily washed out or destroyed during the food preparation and storage processes. If you are taking your vitamin A in the form of a supplement, you should make sure to store them in a cool and dry place that has no excess moisture.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ron Godlewski has written many articles on health, wellness, and maintaining vitality throughout our lifetime. Read more about the importance of nutrition and the many benefits of vitamins in our daily diets in the article library at the Health and Nutrition Articles Library, and even receive your own complementary copy of a nationally recognized health and nutrition magazine just for visiting!