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A Basic Guide to the Benefits of Vitamin A

Updated on May 30, 2011

The chief benefit of Vitamin A is its contribution to optimum eye health. It also helps strengthen the immune system, aids to fight gastrointestinal ulcers, and it is well known for its contributions for epithelial tissue maintenance (it’s good for your skin).

Other benefits include the fact that it helps to fight colds and flu, aids in the proper formation of teeth and bones, and it acts as an antioxidant to help ward off cancerous cells.

Often, people who are receiving radiation treatment for cervical cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer are given oral doses of vitamin A.

Because of its ability to maintain healthy, good-looking skin, vitamin A slows the visible aging process. It reduces wrinkles and fine lines, helps to fade age spots, and it is the active ingredient in the popular skin care medication, and acne treatments, Retin-A and Renova (brand names for topical Tretinoin).

A deficiency of vitamin A can lead to dry skin, dry hair, dry eyes, night blindness, and poor growth. The deficiency is common in underdeveloped countries, but it is rarely seen in the Western world. Lack of vitamin A can also impair the body’s ability to fight infection.

When foods that are rich in beta-carotenes are eaten, the beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A.

It is plentiful in the following foods: Carrots, Sweet Potato, Bell Pepper, Cantaloupes, Apricots, Oranges, Green Peas, Cabbage, Kale, Collards Greens, Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens, Apples, Plums, Papaya, and Prunes.

The list above is not exhaustive, to get a better idea of all the foods containing vitamin A, please consult the World’s Healthiest Foods database.

Pregnant women, people who have diabetes, hypothyroidism, and people who have liver disease should consult their physician about appropriate daily doses of vitamin A.

If you take vitamin A supplements, it is wise to make sure that you do not overdose; however, the best option for getting proper nutrition is to consume foods that contain the nutrient.


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