Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that occurs in two forms in nature. It is found in its true form (also called retinol) in animal foods such as fish oils and liver. The body readily uses this form. Vitamin A can be found in vegetables in the form of beta-carotene (provitamin A). This form is found in plants and is the precursor of the actual vitamin. Beta-carotene has to be converted in the body in order to be used by it. Fat and bile are needed for the conversion. The liver regulates the blood level of vitamin A. It needs a special protein carrier to be transported throughout the body. An adequate protein and fat intake is required for a good absorption of vitamin A.

How much Vitamin A is enough?
Women should have 700 micrograms every day, and men should have 850 micrograms every day.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin A
Babies 0 to 1 years 350 mcg/day
Children 1 to 3 years 400 mcg/day
Children 4 to 6 years 450 mcg/day
Children 7 to 9 years 500 mcg/day
Children 10 to 12 years 550 mcg/day
Teenager boy 13 to 15 700 mcg/day
Teenager girl13 to 15 600 mcg/day
Teenager boy 16 to 19 800 mcg/day
Teenager girl 16 to 19 650 mcg/day
Men 850 mcg/day
Women 700 mcg/day
Pregnant women 900 mcg/day
Nursing mother 1050 mcg/day

Vitamin A is needed for new cell growth, healthy skin, hair, and tissues, and vision in dim light.
The best sources of preformed vitamin A are liver, milk, kidney, eggs, cheese, butter and fish oil. The carotene substrates necessary for the synthesis of vitamin A are mainly found in plants: carrots, spinach, kale, apricots, and pumpkin.
Food Serving RE(mcg) in serving
Carrots, raw 100 grams 2574
Carrots, raw (chopped) 1/2 cup 450
Carrots, cooked 100 grams 2255
Spinach, raw 100 grams 746
Spinach, cooked 1/2 cup 473
Sweet potato, cooked 100 grams 2180
Sweet potato, mashed 1/2 cup 1050
Squash, cooked 100 grams 714
Dandelion, raw 100 grams 1400
Red pepper, raw 100 grams 580
Red pepper, cooked 100 grams 558
Mash, raw 100 grams 708
Mango, fresh 100 grams 523
Apricots, dry 100 grams 730
Apricots, fresh and pitted 100 grams 260
Butternut, cooked 1/2cup 572
Cantaloup, medium 1/2 medium 466
Wheat germ 50 grams 160
Fortified breakfast cereals 1 serving 150-230
Animal foods
Cod liver oil 1 teaspoon 1350
Milk 1 cup (8 fl ounces) 98
Egg 1 large 91
Butter 30 grams 97

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