Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for ensuring normal function of the immune system, maintaining healthy vision, aiding the proper growth and development of babies in the womb, and it also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.

There are two different types of Vitamin A. The first type, preformed vitamin A, is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. The second type, provitamin A, is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products. The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplements is beta-carotene.

Vitamin A is found naturally in many foods and is added to some foods, such as milk and cereal. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin A by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

  • Beef liver and other organ meats (but these foods are also high in cholesterol, so limit the amount you eat)
  • Some types of fish, such as salmon
  • Green leafy vegetables and other green, orange, and yellow vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and squash.
  • Fruits, including cantaloupe, apricots, mangos, and papayas.
  • Dairy products such as cheese and milk, which are among the major sources of vitamin A for Americans
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

The amount of vitamin A you need depends on your age and sex. Adult men should strive to get 900mcg per day and adult women should strive to get 700mcg per day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and adults that smoke or are overweight will require more. 

Information adapted from:  ods.od.nih.gov

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