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Liver, butter and carrots rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene

Vision, immunity ... which are the best sources of vitamin A?

Vitamin A is key among those vitamins considered essential for health. Here are our recommendations for ensuring an adequate intake.

Quick recap of the vitamin’s benefits

Vitamin A is ubiquitous in human health.

It plays a role in:

  • eye health (1) ;
  • iron metabolism (2) ;
  • skin health (3) ;
  • immune system efficacy (4), etc.

It is present in several forms in the body - retinol, retinal, retinoic acid and retinyl phosphate.

Which foods are rich in vitamin A ?

Many animal-source foods

Directly-available vitamin A is actually found in animal-source products (5). These vitamin A-rich foods include:

  • meat and offal - poultry, beef, lamb and veal;
  • cod liver oil, mackerel, salmon and oily fish in general;
  • butter, cheese (such as feta made from sheep’s milk, etc (6).

Vitamin A and plant foods

Plant-source foods primarily contain beta-carotene, a provitamin which the body easily converts into vitamin A.

So if you don’t eat animal products, there is an alternative source of vitamin A. It’s best to choose highly-coloured fruits and vegetable - in fact, beta-carotene is none other than a red-orange pigment (7).

Focus on:

  • sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots;
  • peppers, turnip greens, Swiss chard;
  • cabbage, spinach, lettuce;
  • mango, melon, papaya;
  • grapefruit, nectarines, apricots, etc (8).

Which supplements can you take to prevent vitamin A deficiency?

Microalgae are rich in vitamins

Microalgae are important allies:

  • chlorella is a single-celled algae that grows in fresh water. It is rich not only in vitamin A but in iron, proteins and other vitamins too, and so provides a significant boost to the immune system as well as support for the body’s detox mechanisms (Chlorella);
  • spirulina is a tiny blue-green algae which is exceptionally rich in proteins, beta-carotene and other carotenoids. A perfect choice if you’re lacking in energy (Spirulina).

Carotenoid complexes

You could also try a carotenoid complex. The formulation Carottol™, for example, combines beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, astaxanthin and zeaxanthin. All these compounds are particularly helpful in protecting against problems with vision or the immune system.

Don’t forget multivitamins

Last but not least, taking a multivitamin complex (such as Daily 3) is always a good idea. If you need to, be sure to seek advice from a health professional to identify your particular requirements.


The consequences of a lack of vitamin A can be serious. A diet with plenty of brightly-coloured fruit and vegetables, along with some carefully-chosen supplements, will provide you with sufficient vitamin A to ensure you stay in the best of health!

References

  1. Wu J, Cho E, Willett WC, Sastry SM, Schaumberg DA. Intakes of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Other Carotenoids and Age-Related Macular Degeneration During 2 Decades of Prospective Follow-up. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015 Dec;133(12):1415-24.
  2. https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1221
  3. https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1754
  4. Sommer A, Katz J, Tarwotjo I. Increased risk of respiratory disease and diarrhea in children with preexisting mild vitamin A deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr. 1984 Nov;40(5):1090-5.
  5. Clagett-Dame M, Knutson D. Vitamin A in reproduction and development. Nutrients. 2011;3(4):385–428.
  6. Gilbert C. What is vitamin A and why do we need it?. Community Eye Health. 2013;26(84):65.
  7. Khoo HE, Prasad KN, Kong KW, Jiang Y, Ismail A. Carotenoids and their isomers: color pigments in fruits and vegetables. Molecules. 2011;16(2):1710-1738. Published 2011 Feb 18. doi:10.3390/molecules16021710
  8. Gilbert C. What is vitamin A and why do we need it?. Community Eye Health. 2013;26(84):65.

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