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Vitamin Focus: A

by Louise February 24th, 2010 | Diet, Nutrition, Vitamins
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What do we need Vitamin A for?
You may have heard that eating carrots will improve your eyesight and have wondered have wondered if it was true (and if so, why?). Carrots contain Vitamin A, which is needed to form a light-absorbing molecule (retinal) in the retina of the eye. Eating carrots will not necessarily improve your eyesight, but because of the Vitamin A content will help you maintain healthy vision. In addition to being an essential vitamin for maintaining healthy vision, Vitamin A plays a role in gene transcription, immune function, bone metabolism, and skin health, among a few other functions.

What happens if we do not take in Vitamin A?
In the USA, for a person not to get enough Vitamin A is unlikely. A regular-sized carrot actually contains about four times as much Vitamin A as a person needs. However, a lack of Vitamin A eventually can lead to vision impairment, drying of the cornea, and even blindness. Unfortunately, each year hundreds of thousands of children in developing countries, primarily in Africa, become blind due to a lack of Vitamin A.

Can we have too much Vitamin A?
Just like anything else, too much of Vitamin A can be harmful. It is fat-soluble; thus, unlike when dealing with Vitamins B and C, an excess of Vitamin A cannot be disposed easily by the body. The first sign of a Vitamin A “overdose” is called carotenemia, in other words, when the person’s skin turns orange or yellow. If this discoloration is overlooked, though it is quite obvious, toxic death can occur.

In what foods (besides carrots) can I find Vitamin A?
Many daily vitamins contain Vitamin A, but it is relatively easy to find in foods that naturally contain it. In order of high Vitamin A content to low (but significant) Vitamin A content, the following foods also contain Vitamin A: liver, broccoli leaves, sweet potatoes, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, cheddar cheese, cantaloupes, eggs, apricots, papayas, mangoes, peas, broccoli, and milk. (Carrots falls between the liver and the broccoli leaves.)

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Comments 4 Responses to “Vitamin Focus: A”
  1. […] in a series focusing on the different vitamins. Other vitamins that have already been covered are vitamin A, the B vitamins, and vitamin […]

  2. […] in a series focusing on the different vitamins. Other vitamins that have already been covered are vitamin A, the B vitamins, and vitamin […]

  3. […] a series focusing on the different vitamins. The other vitamins that have already been covered are vitamin A, the B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin […]

  4. Alexandria says:

    In addition to vegetables and other solid food sources, natural juices with vitamin are great alternative.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.