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Benefit your Immune System and Vision with Vitamin A

Benefit your Immune System and Vision with Vitamin A

By B. Soberano

Vitamin A Supplements

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining various bodily functions and promoting overall health, such as our vision, skin health and immune system. This week, we break down how the body benefits from Vitamin A and what you can do to ensure you’re getting the right amount of it.

Vitamin A

Understanding Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in two primary forms. The first is Retinol, which is the active form of vitamin A found in animal-based foods such as liver, fish, eggs, and dairy products. The body can directly utilize retinol without needing to convert it into another form.

The second form is Provitamin A Carotenoids which are plant-based compounds that can be converted into vitamin A in the body. The most well-known provitamin A carotenoid is beta-carotene, which is found in colourful fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and kale.

Once consumed, vitamin A is absorbed in the small intestine and transported to various tissues in the body. In the liver, it is converted into its active forms, retinal and retinoic acid, which play vital roles in different physiological processes such as vision, growth, immune function, and cell development.

Benefits of Vitamin A

Benefits of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential for maintaining optimal health due to its numerous benefits. Here's why you need an adequate intake of it:

  • Vision Support
    Vitamin A is known for its role in maintaining good vision and is a component of the protein rhodopsin, which helps the retina absorb light and supports night vision. Adequate intake can also help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
  • Immune System Boost
    Crucial for a well-functioning immune system, this vitamin promotes the production and activity of white blood cells, which defend the body against infections and diseases, while also helping to maintain the integrity of epithelial cells, acting as a barrier against pathogens.
  • Cell Growth & Differentiation
    This vitamin is involved in the growth and differentiation of cells and tissues throughout the body and is essential for the development of healthy skin, as well as the growth and maintenance of epithelial cells that line various organs and body cavities.
  • Skin Health
    It is often recognized for its positive effects on the skin, supporting the production and maintenance of healthy skin cells, promotes collagen synthesis, and can help reduce acne breakouts. Vitamin A is commonly found in skincare products due to its ability to enhance skin texture and appearance.
  • Growth & Development
    A correct vitamin A intake is essential for proper growth and development, especially in children. It plays a vital role in bone growth, reproductive system development, is essential for sperm production in men and the differentiation of cells and tissues.
Vitamin A

How can I get enough Vitamin A?

To ensure that you’re getting an adequate intake of Vitamin A, animal sources such as liver, fish, eggs and dairy are rich in retinol, which plant-based foods such as carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, apricots and mangoes are rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts into Vitamin A as necessary. It’s important to keep a varied diverse diet of animal and plant-based foods to help provide your body with a broad range of nutrients and intake of Vitamin A.

Also, certain cooking methods can enhance the availability of vitamin A in foods. For example, lightly cooking your vegetables in less oil can improve the absorption of provitamin A carotenoids, whilst in contrast to this, excessive heat of prolonged cooking can lead to nutrient loss.

While a balanced diet can provide vitamin A, supplementation might be necessary to ensure the correct intake, especially for those with specific dietary restrictions that may limit access to vitamin A-rich foods or those at risk of deficiency.

Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can help determine the appropriate dosage and form of vitamin A supplementation based on your specific needs and health status. Remember, maintaining optimal levels of vitamin A is crucial for overall health and well-being.

Vitamin A Supplements

Solgar Dry Vitamin A 5000 IU

Dry Vitamin A 5000 IU from Solgar

Each capsule of Solgar Dry Vitamin A provides 5000 IU (International Units) of vitamin A in the form of retinyl palmitate. This dry form of vitamin A ensures stability and optimal absorption. The supplement is suitable for vegetarians and does not contain artificial flavours, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Viridian Beta Carotene (Mixed Carotenoid Complex)

Beta Carotene (Mixed Carotenoid Complex) from Viridian

Offers a blend of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and other naturally occurring carotenoids. These carotenoids are sourced from organic sea buckthorn berries and are known for their antioxidant properties. Beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A in the body, in a natural regulated conversion process, allowing the body to produce only the amount of vitamin A it needs.

Lamberts Selenium 200µg + A, C & E

Selenium 200µg + A, C & E from Lamberts

Combines selenium with vitamins A, C, and E. While this product primarily focuses on selenium, which is a trace mineral, it also includes these vitamins for additional benefits. Selenium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It acts as a cofactor for antioxidant enzymes, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals and protect cells from oxidative stress. Selenium also supports thyroid function, immune system health, and fertility.

NaturesPlus Immune Support

Immune Support from NaturesPlus

Designed to promote immune health, this product combines various ingredients including Vitamins A, C, D3 and Zinc in a herbal and mushroom blend to support your body's natural defences. While vitamin A is essential for good health, excessive intake can be harmful. It is important to follow recommended dietary guidelines and avoid megadoses of vitamin A, as they can have adverse effects. Strive for a balanced approach, focusing on a variety of nutrient-rich foods to meet your vitamin A requirements.

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