BASIC INFO ~
Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds that includes;
Retinol, Retinal, Retinoic Acid, and several Provitamin A Carotenoids (most notably, Beta-Carotene). Vitamin A plays multiple functional roles of importance in the areas of Growth, Cellular Development, Immune System Maintenance, Anti Agingneurological function, healthy skin, and more Optimal Vision. The Retina of the Eyes require Vitamin A in the form of Retinal, which combines with the Opsin Protein to form Rhodopsin, a light-absorbing molecule necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision. Vitamin A also functions in a very different role as Retinoic Acid (an irreversibly oxidized form of retinol), which is an important hormone-like growth factor for epithelial and other cells. (Epithelial is a type of tissue that lines the cavities and surfaces of blood vessels and organs throughout the body). Antioxidants like Vitamin A are also responsible for building strong bones, regulating gene expressions, maintaining healthy clear skin and facilitating cell differentiation.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is also a powerful Antioxidant and depends on micellar solubilization for dispersion into the small intestine, which results in poor use of Vitamin A from low-fat diets.
Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed in the lymph, transported in the blood, and can be stored in the liver and fatty tissues for use as needed. We must be careful with fat-soluble vitamins because fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body, building up to toxic levels when consumed in excessive amounts.
Vitamin A deficiency is estimated to affect approximately one third of children under the age of five around the world. The first threat of Vitamin A deficiency can occur from early weaning from breastmilk.
Vitamin A is found in two primary forms: active Vitamin A and beta carotene. Active Vitamin A comes from animal-derived foods and is called retinol. This “pre-formed” Vitamin A can be used directly by the body; it does not need to first convert the Vitamin.
The other type of Vitamin A, which is obtained from colorful fruits and vegetables, is in the form of “pro Vitamin A” carotenoids, which are converted to retinol by the body after the food is ingested. Beta carotene, a type of carotenoid which is found primarily in plants, needs to first be converted to active Vitamin A in order to be utilized by the body.
NATURAL SOURCES ~
Some top Vitamin A sources include;
*Eggs *Asparagus *Apricots *Broccoli *Carrots *Liver *Kale *Spinach *Winter *Squash *Sweet *Potatoes *Milk *Mustard *Greens *Tomatoes *Watermelon *Milk *Liver *Carrots *Yellow *Orange Vegetables such as squash, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables.