As we continue our Healthy Thursday series on Immunity, I received a question from a reader about Vitamin A and its role in our diet. So, let's learn about how this vitamin plays an essential role in our bodies; what foods contain A; and how we can supplement if its needed.
What is Vitamin A good for?
Growing up, we heard in various forms--"Eat your carrots or you'll go blind." Vitamin A does help with eyesight, macular degeneration/cataract progression, and night blindness. But, it can also help with:
How could I know if I'm deficient?
Blood tests of course can detect your actual levels, but you can look to a few other physical clues:
What forms of Vitamin A exist?
There are 2 forms--Vitamin A itself and a class of compounds related to vitamin A called carotenoids.
What do carotenoids do?
Do I know any of the carotenoids?
Yes, you do! Some of the best known are beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and phytosterols. Beta-carotene is found in orange veggies; lycopene is found in tomatoes; lutein and zeaxanthin are found in marigolds; and, phytosterols are found in green veggies.
How do carotenoids relate to Vitamin A?
If you eat carotenoids, for example, beta-carotene, they are converted to Vitamin A in the liver.
What are the food sources of vitamin A?
What if I do decide or need to take a supplement of Vitamin A?
Well, supplements can come in the form of either Vitamin A itself (usually in fish oil form) or the carotenoids. If you choose to take carotenoids, it is better to take a carotenoid complex than the individual carotenoids alone, but you can take carotenoids like beta carotene and lutein alone.
How much can I take?
Certain conditions--pregnancy, liver disease, chemotherapy, diabetes, hypothyroidism for example--require specific dosages which need to be discussed with your health care practitioner.
For general suggestion,
Do you take a supplement?
Yes, I do. I am deficient in Vitamin A, so I'm eating alot of beta carotene (no turning orange yet haha) and taking a Vitamin A supplement. Mine comes from Nature's Sunshine. I have noticed my skin clearing and aided in reducing my fatigue level. And since I have chronic fatigue, I can use all the help reducing my fatigue level I can get!!!
If I'm interested or need supplementation, where can I go?
You can go to my Nature's Sunshine website. Also, you can just connect with me on this site too and we'll have a session to figure out what supplement is right for you or for someone in your family.
I have a question for you......how do I let you know?
Use the contact me form on this site, my Nature's Sunshine page, or my Instagram (@brooke_langford_). I'd love to hear from you!
As always, this information isn't intended to diagnose, cure, prescribe, or fix any particular problem. Please contact your doctor if you have a certain medical concern. I'm here to offer general advice and guidance in your wellness journey.