Vitamin A is a type of vitamin found in both plant-based foods and animal products.1 The vitamin A found in plant-based foods is called pro-vitamin A, and that found in animal products - such as meat and dairy foods - is called preformed vitamin A.1 Good sources of vitamin A include eggs, fruits and vegetables (especially orange and yellow ones, such as carrots), dark leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, and fortified skim milk.1 You can also get vitamin A through dietary supplements. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin.1 The body uses it in building teeth, soft tissue, skeletal tissue, skin, and mucous membranes.1 Vitamin A benefits the immune system, reproduction, and vision as well.2
Since vitamin A benefits many body functions, it can help in reducing risks or treating symptoms of the following conditions:
Vitamin A is considered safe, even for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. However, there is the risk of overdose when taking vitamin A supplements. This can lead to illness and birth defects.1 The recommended amount depends on your age, gender, and other circumstances such as pregnancy or other medical conditions.
Vitamin A side effects can also occur if you’re deficient in vitamin A. This can lead to vision problems like corneal damage and night blindness.1 Vitamin A deficiencies can also cause dry skin, hormonal imbalances, mood disorders, infertility, and thyroid dysfunction.3 Most people get enough vitamin A through their diet, but vegetarians, alcoholics, and young children may need to take a supplement to get the vitamin A their bodies require.2 3 A vitamin A diet can also help people with cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, and liver diseases.2 Talk to your doctor about whether or not a vitamin A supplement is a good option for you.