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Supplement Spotlight: Vitamin A

Are you getting enough vitamin A? This powerful antioxidant and fat soluble vitamin is vital to your health. Luckily, the best sources come from a variety of foods including cantaloupe, kale, carrots, sweet potato and beef liver, in addition to many other foods that are as part of a balanced diet.  

The two main groups of vitamin A are retinoids and carotenoids. Carotenoids, which includes beta-carotene, comes from fruits and vegetables. In order for the body to benefit from the beta-carotene, it needs to first be converted into retinol. Retinol is part of the retinoid group and is derived from animal source foods.  This type of vitamin A is known as the active vitamin A since it can be used directly by the body. 

Vitamin A Benefits

So what exactly does vitamin A do and why is it so important? Here are just some of the benefits of this essential nutrient. 

Reduces Inflammation

Vitamin A has strong anti-inflammatory capabilities which is important since inflammation is the origin of many diseases and chronic conditions. 

Supports Healthy Skin

Retinol is commonly used in skin care due to its anti-aging and therapeutic properties.  Great for combating wrinkles and fine lines, vitamin A helps to create youthful and glowing skin. It also has anti-inflammatory characteristics which helps to treat certain skin conditions like acne or eczema and is also known to help with cell regeneration and wound healing.

Enhance Immunity

Vitamin A’s role in decreasing inflammation is correlated to enhancing overall immunity and helps inhibit infections from forming. 

Essential for Pregnancy and Development

As an essential micronutrient during pregnancy, vitamin A is vital in the prevention of developmental disorders and critical for growth throughout our lives. 

Increases Bone Health

Having just the right amount of vitamin A (too little or too much vitamin A can lead to bone fractures) is necessary for building strong and healthy bones. 

Provides Healthy Vision

As one of the more well-known benefits, vitamin A is critical for vision and eye health. Vital for preserving a clear cornea and for seeing in low light conditions, it is also known to help prevent macular degeneration.  

Decreases Cholesterol Levels

Studies show that vitamin A can have a positive effect on cholesterol by naturally maintaining healthy levels and protecting against heart disease. 

Since vitamin A is crucial for optimal health, not getting enough of this essential nutrient can be extremely dangerous. Even though a vitamin A deficiency can affect anyone, it is especially threatening for people suffering from long-term malabsorption of fats. Common symptoms can include visual impairment and night blindness, dry skin and eyes and potential reproductive issues in addition to several other devastating symptoms. 

While there’s no doubt that your vitamin A intake should ideally be coming from your diet, supplements are also available. It’s extremely important that you only take vitamin A at the directive of a health care practitioner and with extreme caution since taking too much of it or in conjunction with certain medications can have adverse effects and be very harmful to your health. 

Feature image via Pinterst

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