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Vitamin A and Beta Carotene

Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene - What does it do? Where do I get it? How much do I need? What are the symptoms of deficiency?
vitamin-a-beta-carotene

Vitamin A Has Great Benefits For Your Body!

There are two main forms of vitamin A in the human diet. One form is preformed vitamin A (retinol, retinal, retinoic acid) and the other form is provitamin A (carotenoids) and is converted to vitamin A in the digestion system. The best-known provitamin A is beta-carotene. For simplification, we will call preformed vitamin A simply Vitamin A and provitamin A Beta-Carotene. Both forms are fat-soluble.

Vitamin A supports eye health and stimulates the production and activity of white blood cells. It takes part in remodeling bone and helps to maintain a healthy lining of the body’s interior surfaces. Furthermore, it regulates cell growth and division needed for reproduction.

Vitamin A also has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help fight free radicals. Free radicals might play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

Where do I find it?

Vitamin A comes from animal products. The highest concentration comes from animal liver. For example, only 3 oz of beef liver has 737% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A. Therefore it should only be consumed moderately. Fish oil, Eel, and tuna are great sources as well. There are many plant-based foods that contain naturally Beta-Carotene. Best plant-based sources are carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. Other good sources of beta-carotene are tomatoes and red bell peppers. Many kinds of breakfast cereal, juices, dairy products, and other foods are fortified with vitamin A.

How much do I need?

The recommended dietary allowance for adults is 900 mcg for men and 700 mcg for women. This equals 3000 IU and 2333 IU respectively.

Because preformed vitamin A can be toxic, you shouldn’t consume more than the upper intake level. The recommended UI 3000 mcg or 3 mg per day of preformed vitamin A.

Vitamin A toxicity is more common in the Western world than a deficiency. This is mostly caused by a high intake of supplements containing vitamin A (retinol). The body can not get rid of excess Vitamin A as it is fat-soluble. All excess amounts get stored in fat tissue or the liver. This can lead to toxic effects if it continues over time. There is some evidence that too much vitamin A might increase the risk of bone loss, hip fracture, or some birth defects. It can also interfere with the beneficial actions of vitamin D. Signs of toxicity include vision blur, bone pain, and nausea.

Beta-Carotene is not toxic even at high levels of intake. As it is water-soluble, the body can get rid of any excess after converting what it needs to vitamin A. If you take supplements to make sure you choose beta-carotene and not vitamin A.

Many anti-aging skin products include vitamin A (Retinoids). It can reduce wrinkle but it results in the top layer of the skin peeling off and so causes sensitivity. Vitamin A can also boost the amount of collagen in your skin, which makes it firmer. It blocks the genes that cause it to break down and increase other gene activity responsible for its production. You should only use skin products containing retinoids for nighttime application.

What happens if I don’t get enough vitamin A?

Vitamin A deficiency is in general rare in Western countries. Some conditions that interfere with normal digestion can lead to poor absorption. These are among other Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, cirrhosis, alcoholism, and cystic fibrosis. Finally and obviously, anyone who eats a poor diet can also be at risk.

Vitamin A deficiency may cause fatigue, a higher risk of infections, and infertility. Other symptoms are dry skin or hair. Furthermore, some serious signs of deficiency include night blindness and severe dryness of the eye that can lead to blindness.

Read more about other essential Vitamins on b-someone.com

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