The benefits of Vitamin A are often over looked.
Vitamin A was the first fat soluble vitamin recognized as a necessary growth factor in 1913 but was not characterized until 1930.
Researchers found that young animals fed a diet deficient in natural fats became very unhealthy, as evidenced by their inability to grow and their poor immune function. These researchers also noted that the animals eyes became severely inflamed and infected on the restricted diet-conditions quickly relieved by the addition of butterfat or cod liver oil to the diet.
Once known as the anti-infective vitamin, Benefits of Vitamin A recently regained recognition as a major determinant of immune status.
There are 2 forms of Vitamin A:
Carotenes are the most widespread group of naturally occurring
pigments in nature. When Beta Carotene is mentioned, the first food that generally comes to mind is carrots. Carotenes actually come in many colorful vegetables but even our dark greens are filled with carotenes.
They are an intensely colored group of fat-soluble compounds derived from plant compounds. These compounds not only play a role in the process of photosynthesis, but play a crucial role in protecting the organism or plant against the tremendous amount of free radicals produced during photosynthesis.
you just get that? Did it make you think about our own free radical
activity and the important role of the nutrients in the human body? We
are all living organisms and have more in common than not.
Of 600 carotenoids characterized, only 30 to 50 seem to have Vitamin A activity. Researchers have described beta-carotene as the most active of the carotenoids because of its higher conversion to pro-vitamin A activity, but several other carotenes exert greater antioxidant effects. This is why we promote "All colors of the rainbow" when choosing vegetables and the benefits of vitamin A.
Absorption and conversion of carotenes to the active Vitamin A are more difficult than that of retinols and a variety of factors come into play including:
Vitamin A is termed Retinol, based on the function of the retina of the eye. Retinol is primarily involved with vision and reproduction, and retinoic acid being important in other body functions, such as growth and cell differentiation.
Synthetic versions of retinoic acid have been developed to treat many skin conditions and more recently, certain forms of cancers. Another form of synthetic Vitamin A, Isotretinoin or Accutane is used in treating severe cystic acne and disorders of the skin like psoriasis.
Unfortunately, these compounds have their side effects which include:
With all of the above information, are you convinced that eating whole, real food can provide you benefits of Vitamin A?
(The system of organs comprising those concerned with the production and excretion of urine)
Even a mild Vitamin A deficiency is associated with a significant increase in mortality.
The RDA for Vitamin A is:
Infants Under 1 Year 1875 IU
Young Adults and Adults
Far too many pregnant women have a false fear of Vitamin A toxicity and consequently, most Pre-Natal Vitamins contain the synthetic form of Vitamin A. Synthetic Vitamin A is linked to birth defects.