Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that has a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function and healthy skin.
A vitamin A deficiency will lead to night blindness and can eventually cause thickening of the cornea and blindness.
People at risk for a vitamin A deficiency include alcoholics who’s excess toxicity creates low vitamin A levels.
Also, people with long term malabsorption of fats will have a vitamin A deficiency.
The most common health problems that cause malabsorption of vitamin A include:
- Gluten sensitive
- Leaky Gut
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis)
- Pancreatic disorders
Vitamin A also plays a role in maintaining strong bones, gene regulation, clear skin, cell differentiation, and immune function. It is found in two primary forms: beta carotene and active Vitamin A.
Beta carotene, which is found primarily in plants, needs to be converted to active vitamin A in order to be utilized by the body. The RDA for vitamin A is 900mcg/day for men and 700mcg/day for women. The current daily value is 5000 IU.
Top 10 Vitamin A Foods
1) Beef Liver
3 ounces: 14,363 IU (almost 3x the DV)
1 cup raw sliced: 21,384(over 100% DV)
3) Sweet potato
1 whole: 18,443 IU (over 100% DV)
1 cup, chopped: 6693 IU (over 100% DV)
1 cup raw: 2813 IU (56% DV)
1 fruit: 674 IU (13% DV)
1 cup raw: 567 IU (11% DV)
1 Tbsp: 355 IU (7% DV)
1 extra-large: 302 IU (6% DV)
10) Winter squash
1 cup, cubes: 514 IU (10% SV)
Vitamin A Benefits For Skin, Hair and Eyes
When light shines on the retina, in the human eye, a molecule called rhodopsin is activated. The activated rhodopsin sends a signal to the brain which results in vision. Vitamin A is a critical part of the rhodopsin molecule, which is why a deficiency in vitamin A can cause night blindness.
Beta carotene, the form of vitamin A found in plants, plays a role in preventing macular degeneration, the leading cause of age-related blindness.
Vitamin A is known as an immune boosting vitamin because several immune system functions are dependent on sufficient vitamin A. Genes involved in immune responses are regulated by Vitamin A. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to increased infections and an overall weakened immune system.
Beta-carotene is also a powerful antioxidant that can help boost the immune system and prevent a variety of chronic illnesses.
Skin Health and Cell Growth
Vitamin A is needed to support all of the epithelial (skin) cells both internally and externally. It is needed to form glycoproteins, a combination of sugar and protein, which help the cells bind together forming soft tissues. Due to this function, Vitamin A is necessary for wound healing and skin regrowth.
Vitamin A is essential for skin health and and a deficiency can lead to a poor complexion. Studies have proven that consuming vitamin A rich foods can fight acne and improve overall skin health.
From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Because Leaky Gut is so common, and such an enigma, I’m offering a free webinar on all things leaky gut. Click here to learn more about the webinar.
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