MS, RD, LDN
Janel holds a Master’s in Nutrition Communication from Tufts University. As the recipient of the 2010 Massachusetts Young Dietitian of the Year award, she believes in making healthy eating simple, sustainable, and delicious.
Vitamin A is important for vision, skin, reproduction, and immunity. Pregnant women need extra vitamin A for fetal growth and development.
forms of vitamin A are available in the diet.
Preformed vitamin A is found in foods from animal sources including
dairy products, fish, poultry, and meat.
Provitamin A is found in plant products. Beta-carotene is the most common type
of Provitamin A (think yellow, orange, red and dark green fruits and
vegetables). Provitamin A can be made into vitamin A by the body.
food sources of Vitamin A include:
A listed on food and supplement labels are in international units (IU), however
the RDA lists vitamin A in micrograms (mcg) of Retinol Activity Equivalents
(RAE) to account for how different forms of vitamin A have different
bioactivities (how well your body can use various forms). Converting these is complicated because
different forms of vitamin A have different usable amounts for the body. Here
are the requirements:
A deficiency is rare in the United States.
Americans are more likely to get too much vitamin A from their diets,
than too little. Excessive Vitamin A is
mostly a concern from over
supplementation. This can cause adverse effects and is of particular concern
for women who are pregnant. It would be
difficult to consume excessive vitamin A from food sources alone.
“Vitamin A Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements, date accessed 1 August 2018. <https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/>
“Vitamin A.” The Nutrition Source. Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, date accessed 1 August 2018. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-a/