August 8, 2021

Nutrient Profile - Vitamins A

Vitamins A

Always consult your primary physician when starting a nutrition program with Vitamins A.

Vitamin A is the name of a group of fat-soluble retinoids, including retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters [1-3]. Vitamin A is involved in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication [1,4,5]. Vitamin A is critical for vision as an essential component of rhodopsin, a protein that absorbs light in the retinal receptors, and because it supports the normal differentiation and functioning of the conjunctival membranes and cornea [2-4]. Vitamin A also supports cell growth and differentiation, playing a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs [2].

Vitamin A is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, and cell growth. There are two types of vitamin A. This entry is primarily about the active form of vitamin A -- retinoids -- that comes from animal products. Beta-carotene is among the second type of vitamin A, which comes from plants.

The American Heart Association recommends obtaining antioxidants, including beta-carotene, by eating a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains rather than from supplements until more is known about the risks and benefits of supplementation.

High doses of antioxidants (including vitamin A) may actually do more harm than good. Vitamin A supplementation alone, or in combination with other antioxidants, is associated with an increased risk of mortality from all causes, according to an analysis of multiple studies.

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