Everyone has heard about vitamins like Vitamin A, but few people actually know anything about these vitamins except that we need them. Vitamin A, aka retinol, is the vitamin that helps keep our eyes, mucous membranes, and our skin moist. It also helps our eyes adjust to bright or dark light. The vitamin also contains antioxidants that help fight off free radicals that can result in cell or tissue damage. Anti oxidants play an important role in our lives and our health. Without their contribution, our cells would accumulate more waste and toxins and the build up would damage more cells sooner. Another anti oxidant worth mentioning is glutathione which is referred to as the body’s master antioxidant because it is present and working in every cell of our bodies.
Where does Vitamin A come from? We get most of our Vitamin A from meat, but some plants also provide beta-carotene, which the body can then convert to Vitamin A. In addition to providing the body with Vitamin A, beta-carotene has also been shown to help those who suffer from Coronary Artery Disease. However, more study is necessary before doctors know for certain if beta-carotene really helps fight this disease.
What is certain, however, is that Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in our body’s fat tissues. Taking a good amount of Vitamin A daily can be very helpful to our bodies. Most people get enough Vitamin A (the recommended 800 – 1000 mg) so that they don’t have to worry about a deficiency. However, in those rare cases that someone does not get enough of the vitamin, they may experience blindness, diarrhea, eye inflammation, and more.
On the other hand, it is possible to get too much Vitamin A. If you consume too much, you may suffer from blurry vision, irritability and nausea. You might even notice that the bottoms of your feet or the palms of your hands have taken on an orange tint. In severe cases, it can cause hair loss and an enlarged liver or spleen.
What types of food contain Vitamin A? The main sources include eggs, cheddar cheese, liver, and fortified milk. When it comes to beta-carotene, you want to ingest carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, pumpkin, apricots, spinach, and broccoli.