Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that helps support good vision, skin and a healthy immune system, keeping them running in good condition. However, the supplementation of this antioxidant molecule can be complicated. In this new article in our supplements guide, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about vitamin A and its supplementation.

Retinol is the form of Vitamin A that can be absorbed when eating foods of animal sources. This yellow and fat-soluble substance has three main oxidative states with three main functions. In addition to these functions, it’s also a potent antioxidant that works to slow the effects of aging. In this day and age it’s difficult to suffer from deficiencies of this nutrient, nonetheless, those following restrictive diets could be at risk of suffering significant defficiencies.

Key Facts

  • Vitamin A helps maintain sight, skin and and the immune system working under normal conditions.
  • Vitamin A supplements can be toxic if consumed in high concentrations. Provitamin A (beta-carotene) supplements are much safer and equally effective.
  • Beta-carotene is also a potent antioxidant that reduces the harmful effects of free radicals.

Ranking: The best vitamin A supplements on the market

Choosing the right supplement can be a complicated task due to the wide variety of products available on the Canadian market. To make it easier for you, we have reviewed the supplements available to you and analyzed their characteristic. After carefully assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each item, we designed a “Ranking” with the five best vitamin A supplements you can choose from.

No. 1: Jamieson, Vitamin A – 10,000 IU + Vitamin D 800 IU (soft-gels)

Jamieson A + D contains 10,000 IU of vitamin A and 800 IU of vitamin D3 to support healthy skin, bone, and tooth development and maintenance. This formula of Vitamin A and D3 also helps promote eye health and support a healthy immune system. This supplement also aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus for a healthy organism. Keep in mind that even though this Supplement doesn’t contain sugar, gluten, and some of the most common allergens; it does have animal content and it’s therefore not suitable for vegans.

Jamieson is a Canadian company leading the way to better industry standard by being early adopters of the cutting edge certification of TRU-ID. TRU-ID is DNA certification program which utilizes the latest in a DNA technology to trace active ingredients in supplements back to their specific botanical origins, thus certifying their authenticity.

No. 2: Now Foods, Vitamin A – 10,00 IU (soft-gels)

Now Foods is an American company that offers a supplement with a very high dose of beta-carotene. One capsule of this product provides 500% of the daily requirement of vitamin A. Each pack contains 180 softgels, that are made with a gelatinous coating made from bovine extract, so this product is not suitable for vegans. This supplement is made to provide antioxidant support to many systems in our bodies.

The reviews of this product are overwhelmingly positive. Buyers have benefited from enjoying acne-free skin, a more clear vision and a stronger immune system. However, because this product contains soy and animal byproducts, some consumers have reported suffering allergic reactions after ingesting this product.

No. 3: Genestra Brands, A-Mulsion – Emulsified Vitamin A (liquid)

A-Mulsion is a natural lemon-flavored, naturally emulsified Vitamin A and it is indicated as a supporting factor in the maintenance of good health. It helps maintain eyesight, skin membranes and immune function; it also helps in the development and maintenance of night vision, bones and teeth and it also helps prevent Vitamin A deficiencies.

This product comes in a unique and convenient liquid format that is great tasting and easy to ingest. Furthermore, this product is apt for vegans and it’s sale has been approved by Health Canada. Consumers have appreciated its unique presentation and they report experiencing all the benefits associated with the supplementation of vitamin A.

No. 4: Jamieson, Vitamin A – 10,000 IU (soft-gels)

Jamieson Vitamin A 10,000 IU contains vitamin A sourced from purified fish liver oil, this oil helps promotes healthy vision, skin and immune function. This product contains soybean oil, gelatin and glycerin and is therefore not apt for vegans or people allergic to soy. Nonetheless, this product is free of gluten, lactose and artificial flavours and colouring.

This product is made for adults and its recommended use is: 1 softgel daily with a meal. Moreover, Jamieson recommends this product to be stored at temperatures between 15°C and 25°C, and it must be kept away from children. Last but not least, Jamieson is a Canadian company leading the way to better industry standard by being early adopters of the cutting edge certification of TRU-ID.

No. 5: Lil Critters, MultiVites Gummy Vitamins(chewable)

This supplement contains a blend of essential vitamins and nutrients to help maintain good health in a delicious gummy format. This format is convenient because you don’t need to take it with water. This presentation is particularly recommended for this with issues swallowing tablets. The manufacturer recommends taking 2 gummy vitamins per day and consulting with your family doctor if consuming for more than 6 months.

Lil Critters multivitamins for adults are a complete multivitamin supplement designed to help maintain good health. Getting your daily recommended nutrients through diet alone can be challenging. This gummies are the nutritious and delicious solution for adults of any age. With naturally sourced berry, lemon and orange flavours, these easy-to-take gummy vitamins are a perfect ‘top-up’ to help you feel great and support optimal health.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about vitamin A

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that has been used for centuries to treat eye defects. It’s essential for the proper functioning of the cells in the retina, hence why it’s also called “retinol”. Retinol is an antioxidant that can be ingested or applied directly on to the skin.

Woman with carrot

Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant.
(Source: Abetlanda: 110743755/123rf.com)

What is vitamin A exactly?

Vitamin A is a molecule that regulates hundreds of vital processes in the body. It is involved in the maintenance of good vision, immunity, growth and reproduction. This substance, also known as retinol, is found in animal byproducts. Our organisms are also able to create it from its precursors, the carotenoids.

The most important carotenoid for vitamin A synthesis is beta-carotene. Also known as provitamin A, it’s found in most orange foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes. This substance also acts as an antioxidant, fighting against the actions of free radicals – which are the ones responsible for causing cell to age.

You can find different forms of this molecule throughout our organisms. For example, the vitamin A present in the cells of the retina is called retinylesters, it is stored in fat tissue or the liver. The important thing to keep in mind is that all three retinoids are versions of the same vitamin.

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Did you know that the beneficial effects of vitamin A on vision have been known since 1500 BC?

What function does vitamin A have in our bodies?

Vitamin A allows the photoreceptors of the retina (cones and rods) to adequately react to light. This allows for us to have colour vision, especially in low-light situations. Retinol is also vital for other processes, such as hormone regulation. In the table below you can see a visual representation of its main functions:

System Function
Ocular Normal vision. Low-light vision.
Muscular Creation of new cells.
Pulmonary Creation of defensive cells.
Reproductive Development of fetus.
Immune Activation of the defensive system. Creation of immune cells.
Nervous Maintenance of normal memory.
Hormonal and aging Antioxidant (beta-carotene).

What is the recommended dose of vitamin A?

A daily intake of 1 microgram (mcg) of retinol is recommended for men and 0.8 mcg for women. However, vitamin A can be taken in its bioavailable form or as provitamin A. Due to these variables intake recommendations for this substance are established in micrograms of “Retinol Equivalents” (RE):

It can be confusing to determine how much vitamin A we should ingest, especially if we supplement with precursors such as beta-carotene. The RE table allows the use of equivalences to simplify the task of finding the right dosage.

Remember: 1 mcg of retinol equals 1 mcg of RE, and 12 mcg of beta-carotene equals 1 mcg of RE.

Population group Daily dose RE(mcg)
Infants 0-6 months 400
Infants 7-12 months 500
Children 1-3 years 300
Children 4-8 years 400
Adolescents 9-13 years 600
Women over 13 years 700
Men over 13 years 700
Pregnant 1200

What foods are rich in vitamin A?

Preformed vitamin A or retinylesters, is found exclusively in foods of animal origin. One hundred grams of veal liver, for example, gives us a thousand times the recommended daily dose of retinol. Below, you can see a table in which we show you the foods with the highest vitamin A contents:

Food Amount of vitamin A (mcg) % of Recommended Daily Allowance
Veal Liver (100g) 9442 1000%
Lamb Liver (100g) 7500 800%
Cod Liver Oil (1 teaspoon) 1350 150%
Mackerel (100g) 252 28%
Camembert Cheese (100g) 240 27%
Salmon (100g) 150 17%
Foie gras (1 teaspoon) 130 14%
Butter (1 teaspoon) 100 11%
Egg (1 egg XL) 75 9%

Because Vitamin A is fat-soluble and is stored in the tissues of your body, it’s not necessary to consume these foods on a daily basis. Note that most of these foods are rich in saturated fats and cholesterol, and you shouldn’t abuse them. To supplement your vitamin A intake, it’s best to turn to foods rich in beta-carotene.

Foods that contain vitamina A

Foods from vegetable sources are rich in vitamin a and beta carotene.
(Source: Photka: 53950131/123rf.com)

What foods are rich in beta-carotene?

Foods rich in provitamin A come from plant sources, which allows vegans to meet their vitamin A needs. This substance also acts as an antioxidant that fights the effects of aging. In the table below, we show you the main sources of beta-carotene:

Food Amount of beta-carotene (mcg) EAR Equivalence (mcg) % of Recommended Daily Dose
Pumpkin (100g) 3123 260 29%
Yellow Melon (100g) 1190 99 11%
Lettuce (100g) 800 67 7%
Red Pepper (100g) 686 57 6%
Apricot (100g) 565 47 5%
Broccoli (100g) 483 40 4%
Peas (100g) 405 35 3%

It’s easy to calculate the amount of vitamin A obtained from food rich in beta-carotene. Simply divide the micrograms of provitamin A by 12. The result will be the “Retinol Equivalents” (RE). RE’s indicate the amount of vitamin A that will be obtained after the beta-carotene is metabolized.

In a post industrialization world, our diet is rich in meat and fatty products, and poor in foods of vegetable origin. Remember that fruits and vegetables will not only give you beta-carotene. These foods are also rich in fibre, antioxidant elements and other vitamins. These are just a few of the benefits associated with plant-based foods.

Who is at risk of entering a vitamin A deficiency?

In industrialized societies, vitamin A deficiencies are rare. Our diet is rich in animal fats, which in turn contain high amounts of retinol. This deficiency is most frequently found in developing countries, where their food options is lacking and there is little variety of consumed nutrients.

Nonetheless, it is possible to find low levels of vitamin A in our country. Vegans, for example, may suffer a lack of this molecule if their diet does not contain foods rich in carotenoids. Also, people who follow an overly restrictive weight loss died may also be at risk of hypovitaminosis.

Furthermore, diseases that affect the proper absorption of nutrients will also end up leading to vitamin A deficits. For example, crohn’s disease, cirrhosis and celiac disease, if not treated correctly, will most certainly lead to retinol deficiencies. Make sure to consult your family doctor if despite following a balanced diet, you suffer from hypovitaminosis.

How are vitamin A deficiencies manifested?

Vitamin A is crucial for the proper functioning of the skin, eyesight and immune systems. A lack of this nutrient will affect all these systems progressively. Milder forms of vitamin A deficiency may be asymptomatic. If this deficiency worsens, the following manifestations will appear:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Unexplained itching or itching all over the body
  • Difficulty healing wounds
  • Loss of night vision
  • Fuzzy vision
  • Severe vision disturbances, such as corneal ulcers
  • Frequent infections, especially influenza and gastroenteritis
  • Infertility, miscarriages and fetal growth failure
  • Frequent bone fractures
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of appetite

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Repost – Follow my other page @naturedoctor_beautytips 🌿😊🌱🍠🍑 Organic fruits and veggies rich in Vitamin A/Beta-carotene. Hawaiian Spirulina should be included on this chart as it is very high in Beta-carotene/VitA and contains 10,000 ius per teaspoon! Look at my previous post all about Spirulina and the best brand Nutrex @hawaiianspirulina 🌿😊💚 Jack Fruit should also be included on this chart as it is rich in beta-carotene/VitA. This chart ideally should say Beta-carotene/ Vitamin A as these veggies and fruits contain beta-carotene and the body converts it into Vitamin A. We need Vitamin A for healthy glowing skin and mucus membranes, healthy bones, our immune system, protection against cancer, our reproductive system, and good eye health and vision. Deficiency of Vitamin A/beta-carotene can cause night blindness, eye diseases, cataracts and other eye disorders, susceptibility to infections, and can lead to cancer and ultimately death. Studies show that young developing animals without beta-carotene in their diet lose weight, and have abnormal bone development. Intestinal health is important in regards to beta-carotene as it is converted into Vitamin A in the walls of the small intestine, so our microbiome health should be optimal. Eating some fat with beta-carotene makes it much easier for the body to absorb..especially if it is not a saturated animal fat and instead a healthy oil such as organic extra virgin olive oil, coconut, avocado, hemp..etc. You can never overdose on beta-carotene (though you can overdose on Vitamin A that is synthesized generally from animal foods). An excess of beta-carotene from plant foods may turn the skin yellowish but this is harmless.🍠😊🌿 Thank you @veganstreet 🥕💚. . . . #betacarotene #vitaminA #plantbasedfoods #leafygreens #pumpkin #cantaloupe #carrots #functionalfoods #foodasmedicine #foodismedicine #optimalhealth #drholistichealth #holistichealth #holisticnutrition #holisticnutritionist #holisticlifestyle #holistichealing #sweetpotato #broccoli #mango #papaya #organicfoods #veganfoodshares #veganfoodshare #breastcancerawareness #breasthealth #naturalhealth #microbiome #organicskincare

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Is a vitamin A supplementation better than beta-carotene supplementation?

Vitamin A is stored in the fatty tissues of the body and it is therefore difficult to remove. An excess of vitamin A is accompanied by undesirable side effects. You may experience nausea, vomiting and deterioration of the immune system. Keep in mind that a significant overdose of this nutrient could potentially endanger our lives.

That being said, by consuming beta-carotene, our body will synthesize only the amount of vitamin A it needs. The only proven side effect of excess beta-carotene is the appearance of a yellowish tinge to the skin. This complication is purely cosmetic and does not pose any real threat to our health.

Andrew WeilDoctor in Medicine

“Individuals who consume the necessary levels of beta-carotene decrease their risk of coronary illnesses, macular degeneration, and other age-related afflictions.

For this reason, we recommend that if you want to supplement to improve your vitamin A levels, do so from beta-carotene. Although this substance is not the perfect solution (for example, it is not recommended for smokers), it is a much safer option. Moreover, its antioxidant and photoprotective properties will provide you with added benefits.

Who should take a beta-carotene supplement?

A balanced diet should provide 100% of the daily requirements of beta-carotene and vitamin A. However, if symptoms related to a deficiency begin to appear, it’s possible to supplement this nutrient to bring and restore retinol reserves to normal levels. An extra intake of beta-carotene can improve the health of the following people:

  • People with age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • People with skin that burns very easily in the sun
  • People following low-calorie, nutrient-poor diets
  • People with very dry skin and brittle hair

While vitamin A can sensitize the skin and make it more reactive to the actions of the sun, beta-carotene simultaneously works to protect the skin. The presence of this substance seems to oppose the aging effect on the skin caused by sun exposure. Some people even use it for purely aesthetic purposes, to achieve a longer lasting tan.

What precautions should be taken when using beta-carotene?

The human body is able to synthesize the necessary amount of vitamin A from beta-carotene. If the retinol reserves are full, the remaining beta-carotene is not toxic and will be eliminated from the system over time. The most common side effect is the orange coloration of the skin and mucous membranes. These side effects are harmless to our health.

However, some consumers should be cautious about adding this supplement to their diet. For example, an increased incidence of lung cancer has been found among smokers taking beta-carotene supplements. Moreover, there is not enough information about the safety of these supplements during pregnancy.

Dr. A. BendichDepartment of Clinical Nutrition Hoffman-La Roche

“Beta-carotene has been used for more than fifteen years to treat photosensitizing skin diseases with doses equal to or greater than 180 mg/day, with no adverse effects other than skin colouration.”

In summary, beta-carotene supplements are generally considered safe. They should not be used by smokers and pregnant women should consult their family doctor before trying them. Foods rich in beta-carotene do not have the side effects that supplements have, and are therefore recommended for everyone.

Purchase Criteria

We know that finding the right product to best suit your needs can be difficult. Below we present to you some important criteria to consider, we hope keeping these things in mind will ease the search for the right supplement. So, before deciding on a particular item, review the following purchase criteria:

  • Allergens
  • Vegan or vegetarian nutrition
  • Pharmacological interactions
  • Recommended daily dose
  • Treatment duration
  • Value for your money

Allergens

It’s pretty common to find beta-carotene supplements packaged in softgels, and even though allergic reactions to carotenoids are not common, allergies to the components of the gelatinous capsule have been found. If you’re allergic to bovine proteins, soya or fish, be careful when choosing a supplement with beta-carotene.

Vegan or vegetarian nutrition

Although beta-carotene comes from vegetable sources, its supplements are not always suitable for vegans. The softgels containing the product are usually made from bovine gelatine. Make sure to check carefully the supplement’s list of ingredients. Keep in mind that vegetable-coating capsules contain cellulose instead of gelatin.

Dr. Laurie SteelsmithNeurologist.

“Gelatine comes from collagen, a processing of bones and animal parts (usually belonging to pigs and cows) from which a gel is formed. Look for vegetable capsules, made from cellulose.”

Pharmacological interactions

Beta-carotene supplements may affect the efficacy of statins. If you are taking a treatment to lower your cholesterol levels, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before supplementing. Your lipid-lowering treatment may need to be readjusted before starting to supplement with beta-carotene.

Recommended daily dose

Many manufacturers offer very high doses of beta-carotene. Remember that vitamin A needs vary from person to person. Use the table at the beginning of this article to estimate your daily retinol needs. Excessive supplementation increases your risk of adverse effects.

Carrot Juice

Carrot is a great source of vitamin a, is easy to find and pleasant to taste.
(Fuente: Lisa870: 50231030/123rf.com)

Price/quality ratio

Beta-carotene supplements are intended for very occasional use and for a maximum of three months of continued use. That’s why most manufacturers offer packages of 30 or 60 capsules. The price varies between 25 and 10 dollars, depending on the prestige of the manufacturer. Additives, such as vitamin E, will raise the price of the product.

Summary

Vitamin A is essential for the proper functioning of our organisms. This molecule will help maintain our sharp vision, beautiful skin and strong defenses. A supplement to its precursor, beta-carotene, is an effective and safe way to get the vitamin A you need. If we supplement in summer, it can contribute to getting a soft and tanned skin.

We hope this article was a helpful resource for understanding vitamin A and its derivatives. With this information in your hands, you will be able to make a conscious purchase that will be beneficial to your health. If you use supplements wisely and follow healthy lifestyle habits, you will be in full health for longer.

If you liked our guide to vitamin A, please leave a comment with your thoughts and share this article.

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