The ABCs of Vitamins:
Vitamin A


Several thousand years ago, Ancient Egyptians used liver to help those who had trouble seeing after the sun went down. Little did they know that liver is a source of vitamin A, an important vitamin that is essential for normal vision and overall eye health. It wasn’t until 1931 that Paul Karrer defined its chemical structure by extracting it from none other than cod liver oil. Chances are someone has suggested that you take vitamins or you’ve heard that you should.

How Vitamin A is used in The Body:

Vitamin A in the eye takes part in an important reaction that helps adjust your vision to see in the dark. Specifically, the retina of the eye will metabolize vitamin A into a molecule that is necessary for vision. The result is that you can see in color and in low-light situations. Deficiency of vitamin A interferes with this process and may result in poor vision at night.

Why Vitamin A:

Vitamin A is necessary for eye health, essential for normal vision and healthy skin. Adequate vitamin A promotes normal healthy skin appearance and texture while it supports the normal renewal of skin cells.

Foods containing Vitamin A:

Who knew that bright colors could serve for more than just visual appeal? Orange and yellow colored fruits and vegetables derive their color from important compounds called carotenoids. These include beta-carotene (which is converted into vitamin A), lutein and zeaxanthin that are naturally present in the eye and necessary for eye health. Get at least 5 servings of colored fruits and vegetables a day. The foods listed below contain the most vitamin A:
Sweet Potato (with skin)
Beef Liver
Spinach
Carrots
Cantaloupe
Sweet Red Peppers
Recommended daily intake of Vitamin A for adults:
The Daily Value (DV) in adults for vitamin A is 5000 IU.
Many fresh foods like fruits and veggies supply the body with vitamin A along with other essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Start with a healthy diet by focusing on fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds, and fat-free/low-fat milk and other milk products. Dietary supplements used in combination with a healthy diet will provide your body with a great opportunity to support healthy vision as you age.

By Dr. Maroon Dr. Joseph C. Maroon, M.D. is a Board-Certified Neurosurgeon and Expert in Nutrition and Sports Medicine


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