Vitamin A

When you were little and your mom told you to eat all your carrots so you would have the eyes of an eagle, she wasn’t kidding, but it has many other roles in the body that aren’t as well known but just as important. It has roles in gene expression, maintenance of body linings and skin, immune defenses, growth of bones and body, and normal development of cells. It is a critical vitamin for reproduction as well. All in all Vitamin A is an important nutrient and not just for vision.

• Other names: Beta-Carotene( Vitamin A precursor)

• Class of Vitamin: Fat Soluble (what that means is how the vitamin is absorbed and carried through the blood stream)

• What it does: sustain normal eyesight, improves night sight

• Good Sources: fortified milk, carrots, sweet potato, spinach, apricots, bok choy, beef liver

• What happens if you consume too much of it: reduced bone density and pain, liver abnormalities, birth defects. However eating too much beta carotene can cause harmless yellowing of the skin

• How much is too much? The DRI committee recommends to not exceed 3,000ug for people over 18 years old.

• What happens if you don’t consume enough: night blindness, impaired bone growth, impaired immune system, keratin lumps on skin, and easily decayed teeth

• Daily Requirement Intake: Men=900ug/day** Women= 700ug/day

**ug = micrograms

This information can be found in any nutrition text book or on the National Institute of Health Website. This is only a basic description of vitamins and the amounts needed for an average adult diet of 2,000 calories. Some vitamins and foods may react with your body when on certain medications. Always consult your doctor before starting any supplements or diet. For further information consult with your Physician or a Registered Dietitian. Your way to excellent health starts with you.