I've been hearing and reading about how important it is to get all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to not just survive, but to thrive. I'd like to start a series of posts as I research each one. This info is as much for my own knowledge as it is sharing with you. I know we all know we need them, but I know for me that knowing what each does and how important it is for our body and where we can get it makes it easier to make it a priority to get them into our body (longest sentence in the world!).
This will not be an in depth study but just the basics of each vitamin and mineral. I want it to be easy for me to understand and to write, so it will be simple (my motto). I figure I'll start with the vitamins first then head to the minerals but we'll just see how it turns out.
What is it? Also referred to Vitamin A Retinol, retinal, and includes four carotenoids including beta carotene. It is a fat-soluble vitamin.
Why do we need it? It is needed by the retina to maintain low-light and color vision. It helps with embryonic development and reproduction and healthy skin just to name a few. (I've personally been experiencing healthier skin since upping my intake of A.
How much do we need?
Here's a chart I came across in my research.
| RDA (recommended daily allowance)|
Adequate intakes (AI*)
| Upper limit|
19 – 70 years
19 –50 years
19 – 50 years
Where do we get Vitamin A?
This is in order of most Vitamin A to least amount
Liver and cod liver oil
A vitamin A deficiency can lead to night vision problems, chronic dryness of the eyes and blindness.
I found it interesting that the research said that early weaning from breast milk can also increase the risk of vitamin A deficiency. And is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women for normal fetal development. It says that post-natal supplements will not overcome the deficiencies.
A deficiency also includes impaired immunity resulting in higher risks of ear infections and urinary tract infections.
Poor skin health
The best way to avoid deficiencies is through breastfeeding, diet and oral supplements. Although because Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin you have to be careful to avoid taking in too much (usually through oral supplements) which is toxicity. In minor cases of toxicity the effects are: nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, irritability, headaches. In chronic cases: hair loss, dry skin, fever, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and diarrhea.
So, there's a fine line between making sure you are getting enough and taking in too much. However the toxicity effects seem to be pretty mild for slight over-intake.
Here's a link to my research.
This is just an overview of the vitamin and by no means is a comprehensive study with all information. Please consult your health care provider if you have concerns.
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