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As a beautician I have an interest in vitamins and how they affect the body, I do not study this but make sure I am informed in the uses and benefits of different vitamins and vitamin A is one that has interested me always because so many people talk about taking them in tablets but they do not realise that not many people in the population need to have extra of this that is in their diet even if they do not always eat very good food.
WHY IS VITAMIN A IMPORTANT?
Vitamin A is important because it keeps your immune system strong against infections and helps your body to fight if you catch an infection. It is important for skin health also but I believe vitamin A aids skin from the inside so I do not look to buy cosmetics that contain vitamin A or retinol, a vitamin A rich diet will aid your skin far better than rubbing vitamin A into the skin in my humblest opinion.
HOW TO GET ENOUGH VITAMIN A
It is very easy to get enough vitamin A and it is easy also to have too much and that can be dangerous. If you like to eat liver that is a very good way to get vitamin A and 2 portions a week can give you enough vitamin A overall, some people can not eat liver more than once a week because of the high level of vitamin A and that is an example of how rich it is in this vitamin as well as iron and that is why pregnant ladies must avoid liver and liver based produce because of the risk for their unborn baby.
You get vitamin A from cheese and eggs and an adult needs only 0.6mg or 0.7mg each day so that is easy to achieve with even just a small portion size of these foods in an average week. Yogurt is said to be rich in vitamin A but I do not eat yogurt often only when I use natural yogurt in cooking.
If you take vitamin A tablets you should talk to a pharmacist first because alot of people have to take vitamin D tablets also to benefit from the added dose. I know people who take extra vitamin A tablets because they think it will keep their skin from wrinking and think alot of older ladies are vain to risk weakening their bones with unneeded vitamin overdoses that will not have a benefit on their skin.
It is easy to assess if you are having enough vitamin A by only looking at food packets of the foods I have mentioned and if you are not then you can add more of these foods instead of taking tablets.
Have you ever wondered why your parents told you that carrots let you see in the dark? I et you thought that was just a silly lie to make you eat your veg! Just like your parents may have told you bread crust gives you curly hair, and kissing girls makes your teeth fall out! Well, in actual fact, the carrot story was probably most true story your parents ever told you. Yeah, I know, it's hard to digest after your mum told you the birds delivered you to them in a little white cloth like how 'Dumbo' was delivered.
So, what is this Vitamin A. (I will call it VitA for the review)Well, to begin with, it is important to know it is a fat soluble vitamin. Which means it stores in your body for a long time. Other fat soluble Vitamins are Vitamins A, D, E, K. You can remember them as the 'ADEK', 'KADE' 'or DAKE' vitamins. Unlike water soluble vitamins (C and Bs), foods which contain VitA will not lose it's nutrients through cooking. For this reason, if you eat a high percentage of VitA foods, I wouldn't recommend taking supplements. Otherwise, you'll face consequences, fat soluble vitamins pose a greater risk for toxicity. This is because if VitA is stored in your liver and only used when needed, it doesn't dissolve away like Vitamin C and Bs do, so the next day you can't just start taking your required dosage again. As you already have VitA stored in your body, you can be causing an excess of VitA by adding supplements on top of it. Having a lack of VitA can be dangerous too, the only way to control this problem is to read the nutritional values on the back of foods, and ensure that when you take your VitA supplements, you are not exceeding the daily allowance. Not too much for too long, anyway.
I started off a bit negative about VitA supplements. So, let's get to the good stuff. What can VitA do for you? Well, first of all they help to form skin and mucous membranes. Have you ever noticed the lining of your lips, eye, nose can be a bit crusty of dry? This is likely to be due to a lack of VitA. You can't dodge your VitA guys, it plays an important role in protecting the linings of the face and this helps to prevent infection. This is used as treatment for Acne, and eczema. So unless you want a scabby face, dig into your carrots.
I'm sure you all know at the moment there is this hype about 'anti-oxidant vitamins'. Well, you should be joining in. The anti-oxidant vitamins are also called the ACE vitamins. (You know like, "that's soo ace!"?). These are the Vitimins: VitA, VitC, and VitE. Now, you should do a little research into them yourself because I don't want to go off topic here. However, anti-oxidants have numerous, and endless amounts of benefits to offer you, even a boost with the prevention of cancer!
VitA also helps fight infections, and maintaining strong bones and teeth. This means it works well with Calcium and Vitimin D. It is also used for pretty major problems such as repertory disease and ulcers.
So, what was this your parents told you about VitA giving you superhero night vision? Well VitA is used to improve eyesight, and especially in dim light. So, really, your parents didn't lie to you! Perhaps they just exaggerated a little. But why carrots, you may ask? Well, carrots are a source of VitA. And it doesn't just stop there.. As I'm about to show you:
Vitamin A sources:
*fruit (particularly yellow fruit)
*vegetables (particularly dark greens and yellows)
*Milk, yoghurt, cream, butter
*Fish liver oils
Now, people are going to shoot me down because this is supposed to be for suppliments, but bear with me guys, I'm trying to make a point... and if you don't listen he will eat you! Haha, silly bear joke.
Ok, now I'm going to show you an example meal... just an ordinary, example meal and remember I'll get to the point!
Cereals with fruit pieces* (like special K) ... the cereals in Milk* of course
Mango* juice as a drink
Cheese* sandwich with butter* ... followed by a yoghurt* and tea with milk*
Lamb* dish with sweet potato* (the potatoes served with butter*) and a side of greens*
With a glass of milk* for a drink
Cake (made with eggs*, butter*, milk*) topped with cream*
From what I just showed you there, how many "*" did you see?
Well, each star that was on the menu, indicates a source of VitA. There was 15 little stars in that Menu, now that is a lot of VitA for a menu.
Now, add on the fact that all the VitA that is in your daily menu won't be used up right away, it will remain in your liver and used when needed. Imagine all that Vitimin A stored in your fat, and then you take supplements on top of it? You would seriously be toxicating yourself. Once you have taken too much VitA, that's it, it stays. It is not like taking too much Carbohydrates, where you can just run it off. Taking too much VitA is dangerous, and people take VitA supplements thinking that they don't get enough of it because they don't eat liver! People need to remember VitA is present in very simple things like Eggs, milk, cheese, butter, veg, fruits.. Things you throw into your diet without even thinking. Fat soluble vitamins are really the vitamins that you can't take too much off, so you must be careful and you can't be careless!
Now, let's just say that you were on of the silly billies who eat endless amounts of fruit and dairies, then take supplements on top of them. How would you know that you have taken them to an extent that it is dangerous (hypervitaminosis A)? You will notice: thin hair, haemorrhages, headaches, nausea, inflamed tongue and gums, mental irritability, calcium deposits in blood vessels, cracks in the corners of mouth, enlarged liver, increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure, loss of hair, sleep disturbance, swelling of the long bones, ulceration of mouth, vomiting, water retention, increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure, drowsiness.
Now, look at that list and just take a look for yourself at what taking a few extra supplements can do to you. These aren't even the long-term effects.
In the long term you can face defects such as blurry vision as VitA strongly effects the eyes (usually in a good way, but as Cheryl Cole says 'too much of anything can make you sink - even the good can be a curse'); you can even face anorexia, not anorexia Nervosa which is a disorder and is usually psychological, it is to do with the fact VitA effects appetite. If used properly, it helps appetite, but over-use it and we are back to the Cheryl Cole quote! It can cause muscle and abdominal spasms, and can even drive you to mental irritability. Yeah, tough vitamin!
**VitA and pregnancy*
Now, as this is a review open to the public, I would like to give a quick mention about VitA and pregnancy. You need VitA in your pregnancy, it is essential. VitA is essential for your baby's growth. It helps with the development of hearts, lungs, kidneys, eyes, bones and circulatory, respiratory, and central nervous systems. So, don't get me wrong, it's essential and you need it. However, there are also defects. Excessive VitA can damage your growing baby, and it is not recommended that you take any sot of VitA supplements without your GP being consulted.
It is no surprise that an estimated 75% of people consume too much VitA. It is present in our diet all the time, and there are some silly folk who assume they get too little of it. This is the reason why I strongly protest to VitA supplements. I only recently worked all this out, so I am sorry about my previous review supporting the use of multivitamins. I write my reviews based on my opinion at the time.
VitA should be encouraged as it is a great vitamin which is believed to do great work such as prevent cancers. However, I would never recommended VitA supplements unless you have been to a doctor's with a VitA deficiency complaint and he has recommended them to you. This review is for Vitamin A but I think I saw some people only based it on the supplement VitA. Despite the fact my review is mostly about the supplement and why it should be avoided, my extra information on VitA is simply sue to the fact it does not state that this is only supposed to be for the supplement, and I don't want to do anything wrong.
Thanks for reading!
Vitamin A can be bought from most health shops and from online health site and it can be bought in capsules, tablets and liquid at various prices, a bottle of 100 capsules will cost you around £3.49 at Holland and Barretts health shop in town.
Vitamin A can also be found in certain foods and is good for the skin, helps strengthen immunity from infections and helps with the vision.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means you don't need it every day because any of the vitamin your body doesn't need immediately is stored for future use.
The foods that are rich in vitamin A are cheese, eggs, oily fish, margarine, yogurt and liver. eating these on a regular basis will provide you with enough vitamin A but if you are pregnant you have to be careful about eating liver as your not supposed to eat it or raw eggs like what is in mayonaise or mousse.
Eating to much vitamin A can be harmful as it can affect the bones and as we get older we are at risk of osteoporosis so you really have to be careful about the amount of vitamin A your putting in your body.
The daily recomended amount is 1.5mg so you have to think about what you eat if your taking vitamin tablets as if your eating margarine on your sandwiches and maybe have eggs for breakfast, then a yogurt with your lunch and then take vitamin tablets, or have fish for dinner you may be storing to much vitamin A in your body.
Sometimes to much can be harmful, as we always think taking vitamin tablets is healthy and if you take the multi vitamins then vitamin A is included in them, eating foods during the day with vitamin A in will put you over your daily allotment, so you really have to be careful what you take as in the long term you may be doing more damage than good.
Taking vitamin A suppliments is alright for you if you monitor what you are eating and which vitamins your daily food is providing for you, some people don't eat fish or liver or cheese and therefore may need the added vitamin A that their body is lacking.
I take vitamins if I am ill as this is the time I am most likely to not eat anything and taking vitamin A helps to boost the immune system and help you to get better quicker.
All dietary supplements should be tightly sealed and protected from light, some supplements tend to deteriorate or lose their potency faster than others and may need special storage conditions.
I find if I buy vitamin A from the health shop its best to throw it away after three months as you may not be benefiting from the whole goodness of it after that time.
If you feel the need to take vitamin A then its good for you in the correct dosage, especially when your ill or have the flu.
We only need a small amount of vitamins in our diet but they are crucial for our body to perform certain processes, i.e. growth & repair, releasing of energy, hormonal balance etc.
This vitamin however is involved in the production of new cells. That's why this vitamin is needed in adequate supplies in the diets of children, teenagers & pregnant women. Vitamins A, C, E & Zinc all contribute to help maintain the health of our skin, hair & nails.
Good food sources of vitamin A include:
- full-fat milk
- red pepper
Very high intakes that are excessive in comparison to normal requirements of retinol (vitamin A) have been linked to foetal abnormalities when mothers have diets that have a far higher intake of the vitamin than a normal diet. So any pregnant readers please check with your doctor about what dosage is suitable for you to take. As retinol can be stored in the liver, women planning to a pregnancy are advised not to eat foods containing large amounts of retinol like liver or such associated products.
On the other hand a mother still needs to have an intake of vitamin A. Beta-carotene is a chemical compound that precedes another to form vitamin A, meaning the body can convert it into vitamin A on a required basis, therefore making it a safe form of the vitamin in contrast to retinol if you're pregnant.
Foods containing vitamin A should really only have beta-carotene the safer form of vitamin A good sources of beta-carotene foods are:
So it's worth-while to have an adequate intake of vitamin A incorporated into your diet, especially those with growing children.
Everyone is aware that a regular intake of vitamins is essential for maintaining good health and longevity. The first of these vitamins (alphabetically speaking) is Vitamin A and it is on this that I would like to elaborate. Vitamin A is required for growth, healthy skin and hair, mucus membranes and for night vision. It also plays a key role in the body’s immune system. If not taken in the recommended daily allowance it leads to weight loss and affects the normal growth patterns of children. It also leads to eye diseases and night blindness. As it also plays a key role in the immune system, the lack of Vitamin A leaves one susceptible to infections. Vitamin A is also thought to help prevent the incurrence and development of cancer. Vitamin A is structurally related to something called “carotene”. The carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the liver. The Vitamin A that is available to us in tablet/capsule form is derived from fish liver. The highest levels of Vitamin A are found in all types of liver and fish liver oils (cod liver oil tablets/capsules) aswell as most types of fish in general. Other products high in Vitamin A are carrots, green leafy vegetables, egg yolk, margarine, milk products and in some fruits like melons, mangoes, papayas and guavas. Many people consider Vitamin A to be the most important vitamin since it is very prominent in the development process of the body and also the eyes. Most people will not suffer from deficiency since Vitamin A is found in so many food products that most of us consume on a very regular basis. I for one would not likely be prone to deficiency since I absolutely adore liver and all types of fish and consume them very regularly. The recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A is between 700 to 800 micrograms or 7000 to 8000 I.U. For those of you that maintain different diets and might be prone of Vitamin A
deficiency then the product from FSC (Food Supplement Co) might be a good choice. The potency is 7500 I.U. (750 micrograms) and they come in bottles of 90 capsules and retail for £4.49 a bottle. This equates to 5p a capsule, which is quite expensive as far as vitamins are concerned. However if you fall into the category that requires these then they are good value for money and essential for maintaining your health and general welfare.
If anybody has read any of my previous ops your probably aware that I have a bit of trouble making them completely serious. This op and a few others I have in the pipeline is about vitamins, vitamin A to be precise. Now this is likely to be very dry and factual it’s a bit tricky keeping it light and humorous so since it’s medically orientated what better to lighten the mood than a few Doctor, Doctor jokes. Doctor, Doctor I think I'm a snail Don't worry we'll soon have you out of your shell ! Vitamins are micronutrients which means you don’t need a lot of it to do you good, in fact too much can be toxic as is the case with Vitamin A. It is vital that your body receives the correct balance of vitamins and minerals in addition to regular food to maintain a healthy pattern of growth and development. They were discovered by a Dutch physician, Christiaan Eijkmann, who won the 1929 Nobel prize in physiology and medicine. There are two basic types of vitamins, fat soluable and water soluable. Vitamins that are fat soluable can be stored in the bodies fat reserves, water soluable vitamins cannot be stored and so need to be replenished with your regular intake of food. Doctor, Doctor I keep thinking I'm a spider What a web of lies ! Vitamin A is also know as beta carotene or retinol, you can find it in the following foods · carrots · broccoli · squash · spinach · kale · sweet potatoes · milk · butter · cheese · egg yolk · liver · fish-liver oil It is very important for the following · skin: keeps it smooth and supple · teeth · mucous membranes: read any of my other ops and you’ll know I’m fond of mucous membranes, this includes the mouth, nose , throat & lungs. · bones · vision · reproduction (I’m fond of reproduction too….) So it follows that if you suffer fr
om a deficiency in Vitamin A you might suffer from night blindness (difficulty in adapting to dark environments quickly), skin dryness, susceptibility to bacterial infections (this is down to your mucous membranes not secreting enough so they don’t wash the bugs away) and dryness of eyes. It’s also been found that Vitamin A helps reduce the risk of lung cancer and certain oral cancers. An excess of Vitamin A can damage growth patterns, effect menstruation and red blood corpuscles you might also get headaches, skin rashes, nausea and jaundice. So it’s important to get your intake right. Recommended Intakes RDAs: 1000 µg Retinol Equivalents (RE)/day for adult males 800 µg RE for adult females 1300 µg RE and 1200 µg RE for adult females during the 1st and 2nd six months of lactation 375 µg RE for infants 400 µg RE for children ages 1-3 500 µg RE for children ages 4-6 700 µg RE for children ages 7-10 Vitamin A supplements should not exceed 10,000 IU Since my take on vitamins in general is that you should supply your vitamins as part of your diet here’s a cut and paste recipe to get you started…. “ANGEL HAIR AND FRESH VEGETABLE SOUP (from www.drkoop.com) Red bell peppers contain 10 times as much beta-carotene as green bell peppers. This flavorful soup is just one way to incorporate them into your diet. 1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced 1 medium sweet red pepper, seeded and cut into very thin slices 1 quart water 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 cup packed fresh spinach, thinly sliced 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced 2 ounces dry angel hair pasta, broken in quarters 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 1. Combine first seven ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. 2. Cover, reduce heat an
d simmer 5 minutes or just until vegetables are tender. 3. Add spinach, mushrooms and angel hair pasta. 4. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until pasta is al dente. 5. Ladle into serving bowls, and sprinkle each with Parmesan cheese. “ Sounds good doesn’t it……. And finally Doctor, Doctor I keep thinking I'm a snake about to shed it's skin Why don't you go behind the screen and slip into something more comfortable then !
Firstly - ACE is refering to Vitamins A, C, and E - you may remember the health campaign around this. Vitamin A is a fat soluble alcohol. (I caught your ears prick up at the mention of the A-word!). Because it's fat soluble, you can build up stores of it. Lots of vitamins aren't fat soluble, and this means that any excess is gotten rid of through your urine, and you have to keep taking in more every day. Vitamin A's existence was only really recognised in 1913, and it wasn't until 1933 that they figured out it's chemical make - up, and 1947 that it was synthesised. Vitamin A is a component of a pigment used in the retina, called visual purple. A deficiency of Vitamin A can lead to night blindness. You can find Vitamin A in fish - liver oils, and in carrots. The colouring of a carrot is due to it containing a lot of beta - carotene. This is a good source of vitamin A. Vitamin A2 can be found in many freshwater fish oils. This is similar to Vitamin A, but lacking in two hydrogen atoms. It can be converted into the pigment quite easily in the body. You only need 1.0mg of vitamin A per day, and this can be gained from 6.0 mg of beta carotene. Get munching those carrots! I read once in a PHARMACY magazine that if you feel the first effects of a cold comming on, you should take 6 TIMES THE RDA of Vitamin A, as this would prevent the cold from starting. You do this by taking one vitamin pill an hour for four hours, then slow down to one every few hours before bed. I tried this, and it didn't work. Apparently, you have to do it as soon as you feel down, though, otherwise it won't work. Wether or not this is some Vitamin fad that was around last year, I don't know, but that's what I read, and since a pharmacy said it, you'd think there was something in it (other than money for them since you use up your vits 6 times faster!) ------Updated--
----- It was pointed out in a comment that pregnant women should be careful when taking Vitamin A - it has been linked to birth defects. Some Vitamin A is important for the development of the baby, but you should not take more than the RDA.
VITAMIN A is a naturally occurring vitamin. There are two natural sources of vitamin A. Eggs, butter, milk, meat, and oily fish contain retinol, the primary retinoid of animal origin. Green and yellow fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid of plant origin, that is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is necessary for normal health and growth, especially of the eyes and skin. A deficiency of vitamin A can cause night blindness, dry eyes, eye infections, skin problems, and slowed growth. A normal balanced diet contains a sufficient amount of vitamin A for good health. Only take vitamin A under your prescriber's supervision. Large amounts of vitamin A taken over a long time can cause serious, unwanted effects. Generic vitamin A capsules are available.
I should start off by saying that it is better to take the vegetable version of vitamin A, which is called betacarotene, as vitamin A is stored by the body and can be toxic if taken in too great a quantity. Betacarotene is converted into vitamin A as and when needed, any surplus is expelled by the body. Don't panic about vitamin A overdosing, though, you have to take A LOT for it to affect you in any way! Anyway, if you are planning going on holiday any time soon, start taking your vitamin A supplements now! I never believed that it could make much of a difference, and I was taking the supplements just because I was having a vitamin phase. After 4 days in the sun, I could say I was tanned! (Now for some of you that might not be much, but 1. I don't tan easily as a rule, and 2. I was only out there for a few hours, not all day long, so ...) I believe it really does make a difference to how fast you tan. They say it also can help vision, especially night vision, and helps slow down the ageing process - not sure about that last one, but isn't it worth a try? I'd better just add that pregnant women are not advised to take any vitamin A supplements, and in fact any vitamin supplements should be approved by your GP first.
An important nutrient in maintaining cell membrane integrity. Also important for bone formation, reproduction and vision