Some people take vitamin supplements as part of their everyday health regime. Others take certain vitamins to protect themselves against certain diseases and illnesses as well as to reverse or minimize the effects of a disease or illness they are already fighting against. Learn about the foods that contain high levels of vitamin A, the correct amount you should take of a vitamin A supplement, and other useful information.
Deficiency in vitamin A is quite common in underdeveloped and overpopulated countries. Vitamin A is found in our food in two forms. It is found in food as the active vitamin retinol of animal origin and found as pro-vitamin A carotene’s in plant foods which is a precursor of vitamin A. Carotene is the orange-yellow pigment that exists in green vegetables, but masked by the green color of chlorophyll in leaves.
1. Gives us the ability to see in dim light.
2. Helps us to maintain healthy and normal skin.
3. Needed to grow and develop strong bones and teeth.
4. It is needed to keep the secretions of mucus of the cells lining in the respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts moist and healthy.
5. Helps with the normal process of reproduction.
6. Aids in carbohydrate metabolism in the liver.
7. Vital for smell, hearing, and taste.
8. Helps to prevent certain types of cancer.
9. Beta carotene helps to prevent disease through neutralizing free radicals. It is a non-toxic antioxidant.
SIGNS OF VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY:
1. Night blindness; poor vision in dim light.
2. Skin problems such as dry, scaly, or itchy.
3. An increased occurrence of infections, especially of the respiratory tract.
4. Dry, swollen, and infected eyes.
5. Slow healing of wounds.
6. Slow or poor bone growth in children.
7. Increased dental cavities and defective enamel on teeth.
8. Slow or stunted body growth.
9. The loss of smell and taste.
Vitamin A is unable to be excreted from the body in significant amounts. Because of this, toxicity can result from prolonged daily usage in excess of 50,000 IU in adults and less in children. Symptoms of toxicity or overdose are nausea, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, hair loss, pain in bones, dry itching skin, cessation of menstruation, and drowsiness. If the excess intake is stopped, the symptoms usually clear up in a few days. Toxicity does not occur with carotene. Toxicity only occurs with retinol. Excess usage of retinol will cause the skin to turn yellow in color. This is often see in people who drink large amounts of carrot juice.
1. Carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, yellow corn, tomatoes, and other deep yellow vegetables.
2. Broccoli, spinach, chard, beet greens, collards, and other dark green vegetables.
3. Apricots, peaches, cantaloupe, oranges, peaches, persimmons, mangoes, and other yellow fruits.
Males 11 years old and over: 5,000 IU
Females 11 years old and over: 4,000 IU
During pregnancy: 5,000 IU