Vitamin A, also called retinol, helps your eyes adjust to light changes when you come in from outside and also helps keep your eyes, skin and mucous membranes moist. Vitamin A mostly comes from animal foods, but some plant-based foods supply beta-carotene, which your body then converts into Vitamin A. It also has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.
How Much Vitamin A Is Enough?
It’s recommended that women consume 800 mcg and men consume 1000 mcg of vitamin A daily.
Sources of Vitamin A
Top sources of vitamin A include:
Top sources of beta-carotene include:
Spinach and collard greens
Can You Have Too Much or Too Little?
Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States, but it can cause night blindness, eye inflammation, diarrhea and other problems. Overconsumption of vitamin A can cause nausea, irritability and blurred vision in its mild form. In addition, the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet can turn orange if a person has a high intake of Vitamin A. Vitamin A toxicity can cause growth retardation, hair loss and enlarged spleen and liver in its more severe form. Vitamin A overdose can also cause birth defects and has been linked to increased risk of bone fractures in some people.
If you want to get the most vitamins possible from your food, refrigerate fresh produce, and keep milk and grains away from strong light. Vitamins are easily destroyed and washed out during food preparation and storage. If you take vitamin supplements, store them at room temperature in a dry place that’s free of moisture.