Because there are so many health benefits of vitamin A, it is important that you make sure you are getting enough. Your body can obtain vitamin A two ways, either directly or indirectly. Vitamin A from animal products is directly available to the body, whereas vitamin A from plant foods comes in the form of carotenoids that the body has to convert. Getting enough vitamin A from either source is important, but you need to be careful with animal sources of vitamin A, like egg yolks, because they can accumulate in the body and cause toxicity. To get all the wonderful health benefits of vitamin A, you want to aim for 2,310 IU if you are female and 3,000 IU if you are male.
1. Good Eyesight
One of the best known health benefits of vitamin A is its positive effects on eyesight. Your eyes need adequate amounts of vitamin A to function properly. It helps your eyes adjust to changes in the light, and it keeps them moist. Additionally, adequate vitamin A consumption decreases the risk of macular degeneration, an age related decline in vision.
2. Healthy Bones and Teeth
Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are the three most common nutrients associated with bone health, but vitamin A is an important nutrient as well. Vitamin A assists with normal bone growth and development. It also helps teeth form dentin, which is just below the enamel and keeps teeth strong. You do need to be careful when taking vitamin A, because too much in the form of retinol, which is from animal sources, can actually make bones weak by triggering the cells that break down bone.
3. Healthy Immune System
Vitamin A is one of many nutrients your body needs to have a healthy immune system. It increases the activity of white blood cells, which are needed to fight bacteria and viruses. Vitamin A also keeps mucus membranes moist. This is important because your mucus membranes act as a protective barrier by keeping germs out.
4. Healthy and Beautiful Skin
Having healthy and beautiful skin makes you feel good about yourself, and making sure you get enough vitamin A is one way to ensure your skin stays healthy. Vitamin A fights free radicals, which can damage skin. It also keeps your skin moist and helps fight acne by decreasing sebum production.
5. Cancer Prevention
Vitamin A has been found to have the ability to prevent normal cells from becoming cancerous. It can even help fight certain types of cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society notes that some rare types of cancer are actually treated with vitamin A. To prevent cancer, vitamin A needs to be consumed in just the right amount. Too much vitamin A can actually increase the risk of lung cancer.
6. Cell Growth and Division
For your cells to grow normally, you need vitamin A. Vitamin A is needed to form glycoproteins, which are essential compounds for cell growth. Vitamin A helps with cell growth throughout the body, including red blood cells.
7. Reproductive Health
Vitamin A is a crucial vitamin for reproductive health. Both males and females need vitamin A for a healthy reproductive system. It is required for sperm production in males, and it is needed for a normal reproductive cycle in females.
Vitamin A has many healthy benefits, and, thankfully, it is an easy vitamin to obtain from food. You can find it in animal sources like beef liver, cheese, and butter, or you can get your vitamin A from plant sources. It is actually better to obtain vitamin A from plant sources like sweet potatoes, carrots, and cantaloupe because it won’t accumulate in the body. What is your favorite vitamin A rich food?