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Nutrition: What is Vitamin A?

Category: Nutrition | Vitamin A

Vitamin A

Sweet Potato | Vitamin A

The Importance of Vitamin A

By: Robert J Banach  Robert J Banach on Google+  | August 28, 2013

Vitamin A is a very important and versatile nutrient for the human body.

To start vitamin A stimulates the production and activity of white blood cells, the disease fighting cells of the body, cells that fight harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses.  These white blood cells produce antibodies which than can overcome germs, devout the harmful bacteria, dust and asbestos. White blood cells, also, assist in the removal of dead and dying red blood cells, helping maintain healthy blood flow through your system.

Vitamin A assists in the ‘remodeling’ of bones. Over the course of a year 10% of the average person’s bone is remodeled or replaced. In case of injury, vitamin A assists in the rebuilding process of the bone, and in the case of minor wear and tear of bones from daily use it helps to build and maintain the bone structure.

Vitamin A helps maintain the health of endothelial cells, the cells that line the blood vessels of the entire circulatory system, from the aorta to capillaries, they act as the barrier between circulating blood and the rest of the vessel wall. The health of the endothelial cells is active and plays an important role in metabolic, immunologic, and cardiovascular health. These cells ultimately determine the health of your blood vessels and play a major role in preventing cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin A, also, helps in the regulation of cell growth and division.  Cells follow a regular pattern, they grow and then they divide. Cells grow by adding material to their membrane and cell walls (if present), then through an intricate process divide, this must be done properly for the cell’s to survive.

Vitamin A is more than just one nutrient, but rather a broad range of beneficial nutrients. Each of the nutrients provides us with various health benefits, and are found in two forms:

The retinoids are animal based and assist our bodies with some specific immune, inflammatory, genetic, and reproductive-related benefits. Also, they are especially important with respect to pregnancy and childbirth, infancy, childhood growth, night vision, red blood cell production, and resistance to infectious disease, and other conditions such that we require the retinoid forms of vitamin A.

The carotenoid (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, gamma-carotene; and the xanthophyll l beta-cryptoxanthin) forms of vitamin A are found in plant based foods, they function as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Vitamin A provides health support for:

  • Vision; low-light vision, night vision, fights against macular degeneration
  • Digestive System; assisting in our immune and inflammatory functions
  • Cell Growth Support; promoting the proper cell growth and development
  • Reproductive System; both for the male and the female
  • Normal bone metabolism

Fatty Fish | Vitamin AFoods high in Vitamin A:

Fatty fish, sweet potato, carrots, spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, swish chard, winter squash, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, cantaloupes, beef liver and more.

Recommended Amounts of Vitamin A:

The Institute of Medicine’s current recommended intake of vitamin A is 900 micrograms of retinol for men (equivalent to 3,000 IU) and 700 micrograms of retinol for women (equivalent to 2,333 IU).

Reference Intakes (DRIs): Estimated Average Requirements – Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies (.pdf) Click Here


Harvard School of Public Health | | |

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