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Vitamin A

I’ve decided to start a new series of articles, talking about the basics of different vitamins, minerals and nutrients, all the different ingredients you might find in our liquid nutritional supplements. I’ll kick this series off at the beginning of the alphabet with Vitamin A. This essential vitamin is fat soluble and comes in many forms; additionally it is necessary for many important functions in the body. Because this vitamin is fat soluble that means the body stores any surplus levels and it’s possible to store excessive amounts that could possibly become dangerous.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, “Vitamin A is critical for vision” and also “supports cell growth and differentiation, playing a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.” While being deficient in this vitamin is extremely rare in developing countries, there are still dangers associated with the condition and reasons to consider taking Vitamin A supplements. The ODS says that suffering from this deficiency is “one of the top causes of preventable blindness in children.” Additionally, people deficient in Vitamin A generally also suffer from low iron levels, which can cause anemia.

Recommended Dietary Allowances for Vitamin A:
Age Male Female
1–3 years 300 mcg RAE 300 mcg RAE
4–8 years 400 mcg RAE 400 mcg RAE
9–13 years 600 mcg RAE 600 mcg RAE
14–18 years 900 mcg RAE 700 mcg RAE
19–50 years 900 mcg RAE 700 mcg RAE
51+ years 900 mcg RAE 700 mcg RAE
RAE = retinol activity equivalents*

There are many available sources of Vitamin A. Some of the most common food sources of this important vitamin include: milk, eggs, leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomato products, liver and fish oils. It’s also common to find this vitamin in various supplement forms, both individually and in a combination or multivitamin product. When comparing Vitamin A supplements, it’s important to look at which form of the vitamin is being offered, for example: retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, or beta-carotene.

As always, it’s ideal to get all your Vitamin A from a healthy diet, but sometimes that’s not always possible. Before starting Vitamin A supplements, talk to your doctor about possible interactions with any medications you may be taking, as well as possibly getting excessive amounts of Vitamin A. Taking sublingual vitamins is a good thing, but sometimes it’s possible to get too much of a good thing, especially fat soluble vitamins since they are stored in the body and have ability to accumulate over time.

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