Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that you need to maintain your eyesight and prevent night blindness. it can also improve your immune system, helps with fat storage and protects against colds, flu and some infections. Vitamin A is an antioxidant, which means it protects cells against free radicals, which remove electrons from cells thus decreasing the risk of cancer and other diseases.
You also need Vitamin A to grow new cells, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. On top of all that, vitamin A slows the aging process.
Where Can You Get Vitamin A Naturally?
We can get vitamin A from animal livers and from green and yellow vegetables.
The type of vitamin A from animal sources is called “preforms” and is found in very high levels in fatty liver dishes, however, as you can imagine those aren’t optimal for most fitness-oriented diets.
This is why fitness experts recommend getting vitamin A primarily from plant sources. This form of vitamin A is called “proforms.” Green, yellow and orange vegetables contain vitamin A.
For example, a single serving of sweet potatoes, carrots and even pumpkin pie has more than 100 percent of the recommended daily value.
Bell peppers, broccoli and leafy greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard and dandelion greens also contain a significant amount of vitamin A.
Should You Take Vitamin A Supplements?
Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency include Night blindness and scaly skin, but most likely you are getting enough of it through a balanced diet. That’s because men only need 900 micrograms per day and women only 700 mcg/day. A microgram is 1 / 1000th of a milligram, so very little.
In fact, the American Heart Association suggests getting most antioxidants, including beta-carotene, solely through your diet by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains instead of supplements.
That’s because too much vitamin A will do more harm than good. Since its a fat-soluble vitamin, it builds up in the body over time. Some initial signs of too much vitamin A include dry skin, hair loss and cracked lips. If you keep going, you would experience irritability, headache and your liver would start to suffer.
But there is also an acute vitamin A overdose. Here, symptoms would be very severe and you would start puking, your head would hurt like crazy and you could potentially die.
The bottom line is that supplementation of vitamin a is not necessary unless your doctor told you so, and should be avoided.