Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that fights for your optimal health as it wards off infection. It works hard to keep your skin, eyes, nose, digestive and urinary tracts, lungs and throat nice and strong. It protects you against infection by strengthening mucus membranes throughout the body.
Vitamin A helps to boost your immune system. It aids in the production of lymphocytes, which are cells within the body that combat bacteria and disease. For this reason, studies have concluded that Vitamin A may help in the treatment of measles, respiratory infections and various viral infections. Some clinical trials even suggest that Vitamin A may help reduce AIDS symptoms among sufferers of the disease, as it is very good at boosting depressed immune systems.
Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant by being associated to its precursor, carotenes. Carotenes will convert to Vitamin A as your body needs it. The average conversion rate of carotenes to Vitamin A is approximately 40%. The remaining 60% of carotenes function as powerful antioxidants.
A healthy dose of Vitamin A aids in protein and growth hormone development amongst growing fetuses. As a fat-soluble vitamin stored in the liver, Vitamin A aids in the forming and growth of a baby’s heart, lungs, kidneys, bones, limbs, ears and eyes and is a central component to a baby’s embryonic growth. Additionally Vitamin A helps develop the baby’s circulatory, respiratory and central nervous systems. It also facilitates fat metabolism and reduces the risks of infection.
It is recommended that the average person consume a maximum of 10,000IU of Vitamin A per day, which can be achieved through a combination of supplements, fortified foods and animal products. To give this number some perspective, one medium carrot contains approximately 8,000IU of Vitamin A.
The daily recommended intake for Vitamin A for pregnant or breastfeeding women is entirely different, as an excess of Vitamin A can be detrimental to a growing fetus or a baby. High doses of Vitamin A can cause toxicity of the liver and various birth defects. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consume no more than 5,000IU per day. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should check all labels and supplemental facts before choosing a vitamin that is right for them.
Here is a list of foods rich in Vitamin A:
- Various meats (including turkey and beef liver)
- Dairy products (including cheese and milk)
- Various vegetables (including spinach, red bell peppers, carrots, kale, pumpkin, collard greens and sweet potato)
- Various fruits (including apricots, cantaloupe and peaches)