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Paying Attention To Vitamin A

Aug 18, 2007
Vitamin A is sometimes also called Carotenoids or Retinol. It is a fat soluble vitamin. This vitamin is essential for us to form and keep healthy teeth, a healthy skeleton, and healthy soft tissue, mucous membranes, and skin. Vitamin A also produces the pigment in the retina of the eye, which is why it is also called Retinol. It helps with great night vision, especially if there is low light. This vitamin is also necessary for breast feeding and reproduction.

Vitamin A, one active form, comes from animal sources. Almost all of these animal sources are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. The exception to this is skim milk. The sources for vitamin A include milk, eggs, meat, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, cod, and halibut oil.

Retinol is another active form of vitamin A. This form of the vitamin can be found in milk, animal liver, and a variety of fortified foods.

Carotenoids are dark colored natural dyes that that are found in plant foods. These dyes can turn into a form of vitamin A. One of these carotenoids is beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant. An antioxidant protects the cells from free radicals, which are unstable substances. These substances are believed to contribute to or cause certain chronic diseases and the degenerative process of aging. Some great sources of this type of vitamin A are winter squashes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe, spinach, broccoli, and most other dark green leafy vegetables. The brighter and more intense the color is in a vegetable or fruit, the more beta-carotene there is in it. Vegetable sources have no cholesterol or fat.

Without enough vitamin A in your diet, vision problems and infectious diseases can occur more easily. If there is too much vitamin A in your diet you will get sick. This can also cause birth defects in babies. It requires several hundred thousand IU to cause acute vitamin A poisoning for an adult, but babies and small children will require a lot smaller dose for the same effects. Chronic vitamin A poisoning, which occurs over an extended period of time, has been seen in adults who take 25,000 IU or more daily or on a regular basis. Too much beta-carotene in your diet may turn your skin a yellow or orange color. Once you reduce the intake of beta-carotene in your diet, the color goes away and your skin returns to normal.
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