Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that includes a group of organic compounds; retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and several prov...Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that includes a group of organic compounds; retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and several provitamin carotenoids. Vitamin A plays an important role in normal growth and development, maintenance of the immune system and good vision.
One of the common misconceptions with vitamin A is that it is only one nutrient. In fact, vitamin A refers to a group of organic compounds, each of which plays important roles in the body. There are several members of this vitamin A group, but the two most common include retinol and betacarotene (Source: Examine.com).
What foods contain Vitamin A?
There are two primary types of vitamin A found in our diet. Preformed vitamin A is that which is already in its bioactive and useable form. This is found in animal organ meats and dairy. The other form is called provitamin a (beta-carotene) which is found in bright orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. These need to be converted in the body to the form we can use.
A fun but as important fact is that vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means that it must be packaged into little fatty droplets to be absorbed across the intestinal barrier. What does this mean? Well when cooing green, yellow and orange vegetables maybe add a source of fat, such as a teaspoon of oil to the pan.
What is Vitamin A good for?
Vitamin A is essential and we must consume the vitamin group from our food, as we cannot produce it in the body. Retinal, one of the active forms of vitamin A is important for vision and support of eye health (Source: NCBI). Vitamin A is also a powerful antioxidant that can help to prevent excessive buildup of reactive oxygen species in the body.
What Vitamin A Supplement is best?
That is a great question and a very important one at that. You always want to check the label to ensure that there is sufficient, but not excessive, doses of each micronutrient. In addition, you always want to ensure that the brand you are considering has a proven track record and is reputable.
Key Health Aspects of Vitamin A
Vision and Eyesight
Vitamin A is important for supporting normal vision, and can improve your ability to see in the dark. Vitamin A provides a crucial component of proteins in the eye that absorbs light, and contributes to their continuous turnover and regeneration (Source: NIH)
A component of retinol is the most common ingredient of the vitamin A group that is used in supplements (Source: Examine.com). This is important for the maintenance of healthy skin by preventing excessive collagen breakdown and by promoting the production of new collagen (Source: Examine.com & NCBI).
Vitamin A plays important roles in supporting cell differentiation and function, especially those that play important roles in our immune response . While no vitamin will 'boost' or 'ignite' the immune system, some are well-known supporters of it. Vitamin A is one of these.