The Importance of Vitamin A and Where to Get It
Did you know that Vitamin A deficiency affects about 190 million preschool-age children, mostly from Africa and South-East Asia? Can you believe it?
According to the CDC, 1 in 6 pregnant women and 1 in 3 preschool-aged children are Vitamin A deficient due to insufficient dietary intake globally. Vitamin A deficiency is usually rare in the United States, but it is important to bring awareness since it is essential to support rapid growth and help combat infections.
Vitamin A is a micro-nutrient required by the body in small amounts and vital to overall development, disease prevention, and well-being.
What does Vitamin A do?
Vitamin A plays an essential role in eye health, vision, bone growth, teeth development, quick repair of bones, muscles, tissues, and cell division. We get vitamin A from various sources, but two of the most common food sources are beta-carotene and retinol.
Vitamin A is not produced in the body and must be derived from the diet or supplement.
Beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) is the precursor to vitamin A and must convert to Vitamin A's retinol form to be absorbed by the body.
Where can you find Vitamin A?
Foods that contain beta-carotene are orange and dark green plant foods, apricots, papaya, tomatoes, seaweed, melon, carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, mangoes, watermelon, tangerine, nectarine, guava, passion fruit, grapefruit, spinach, butternut squash, green peas, and kale.
Since vitamin A is fat-soluble, it is more efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream when eaten with fat.
The retinol form of vitamin A food source is in eggs, fatty fish, cheese, goat cheese, cottage cheese, blue cheese, feta cheese, butter, cod liver oil, and fortified cereals.
45% of people carry a genetic mutation that significantly reduces their ability to convert pro-vitamin A into vitamin A so you actually may be absorbing significantly less Vitamin A from your 'beta-carotene' foods. In this case, the suggestion is to consume those foods with a little healthy fat like coconut oil, olive oil, or one of the 'retinol' foods and take a supplement. Talk to your physician if you have questions about if this is affecting you.
KidsLuv contains 80% of your child's recommended intake of Vitamin A!
Always discuss with your health care provider before starting any new supplement regimen.
Nancy Guberti is a Functional Medicine Specialist, Nutritionist, and passionate to empower others to become their health advocate. She is the founder of Total Wellness Empowerment Membership & Podcast, Look and Feel Great Method, and Raising Achievers & Givers: Positively Powerful Parent program. Learn more & be empowered at nancyguberti.com.
Genetic Variations Associated with Vitamin A Status and Vitamin A Bioavailability