Vitamin A, also known as retinol, beta-carotene, and carotenoids, is a powerful antioxidant important for healthy growth and repair of body tissues. It is especially important for eye health, particularly night vision. The pure retinol form is the most active form, and is only available from animal sources. The beta-carotene form is the plant source of vitamin A, and is the safer source, as it is converted to vitamin A by the body only as needed, which prevents the risk of toxicity.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage and reduces the effects of aging. It is vital for the function, growth and repair of skin, bones, teeth, and all skeletal and soft tissue. The most active form of vitamin A, retinol, is involved in the production of retina pigments in the eye, assisting of the proper functioning of eyesight and vision. Since vitamin A plays a major role in growth and development, adequate intake is essential for conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
It is important to note that vitamin A is also highly toxic when taken in excess doses, particularly in supplemental form. Intake should remain at the recommended doses provided by a healthcare professional. Typically, the beta-carotene form found primarily in fruits and vegetables is the safer bet for avoiding toxicity.
Some foods that contain Vitamin A include: