What is Vitamin A?
This important vitamin, also known as retinol, retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate, is essential for the body to maintain overall health and well-being.** The carotenoid beta-carotene, which is considered a vitamin A precursor, can be converted to the nutrient after consumption. Significant dietary sources of vitamin A include liver, carrots, sweet potatoes and butter. Various foods and beverages are fortified with the vitamin, most notably milk. Contrary to popular belief, vitamin A was not the first vitamin; vitamin B, as thiamine, was discovered in 1910, with A, as retinol, following three years later.
Vitamin A promotes well-being in numerous ways, working at the cellular level to encourage cell and tissue production.** The vitamin, particularly in retinol form, is key for healthy eyesight, due to its ability to aid in the production of pigments needed by the eyes.** Containing free-radical-fighting antioxidants, vitamin A also helps to maintain optimal functioning of the immune system and is crucial for the ideal health of skin and hair.**
This nutrient may work well with other vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and E, as well as zinc, to support overall health.** Additionally, vitamins A and D are considered to be complementary. Often paired together in supplement form, these nutrients, among other beneficial qualities, help the body to absorb calcium.** Due to its various health-promoting attributes, it's no surprise that vitamin A is also considered to be a helpful nutrient for wellness during the aging process.**
Vitamin A Products
Vitamin A supplement products are generally derived from fish liver oil and/or created synthetically as retinyl palmitate. Supplements are available in softgel or capsule form, and retinol is also sold as a topical cream.
Vitamin A Directions for Use
Consult your physician before taking vitamin A supplements or starting any routine supplementation. The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) amount is 900 mcg (micrograms)/3,000 IU (International Units) for adult men and 700 mcg/2,310 IU for adult women. For breastfeeding women, who can be prone to a deficiency in the vitamin, 1,300 mcg/4,300 IU is the suggested dosage.