Updated: May 19
The importance of Vitamin D to optimum health and the widespread deficiency crisis has achieved top billing in the past couple of years. Another vitamin looms on the horizon as the next superstar, though, and that vitamin is A. Most Americans possibly know Vitamin A as an antioxidant and as an important nutrient for eye health, but this vitamin also plays an invaluable role in gut health. Vitamin A is a necessary factor in healthy mucus lining from sinus to lungs to stomach to gut. Without a healthy mucus lining, the immune system, the respiratory system, and the digestive system are impaired. Vitamin A also plays an important role in skin health. Some signs that might warrant concern over low Vitamin A levels are night blindness, cataracts, macular degeneration, hyperkeratosis pillaris (those little white bumps on the back of the upper arms or thighs of 40% of adults), and many skin conditions from acne to eczema. Strong levels of Vitamin A are imperative for optimum health and wellness.
Throughout human history, the best and most common source of Vitamin A has been organ meats. Unfortunately, organ meats rarely appear on the dinner table in most cultures in present times. I recommend supplements of Vitamin A sourced from cod liver oil. As far as veggies go, one serving of carrots boasts 204% of the RDA per serving and sweet potatoes offer a whopping 438% of the RDA per serving. Beta carotene can be converted to usable Vitamin A by the human body , though only about 1/12 makes the full conversion and the body needs a healthy liver and top grade gut for the transformation and absorption.
Everyone should be taking Vitamin A. Vitamin A is fat soluble and can be stored by the body; therefore, like Vitamin D, a high dose can be taken once a week, instead of daily. Pregnant women should not take more than 5000 iu per day as more has been related to birth defects. Avoid esters and palmitates as synthesized A is toxic to the body. Vitamin A also needs zinc and D, so make sure you have sufficient levels of those, as well, as you journey to holistic health.