The World Health Organization reports approximately 250 million young children around the world consume diets deficient in vitamin A. Between 250,000 and 500,000 children become blind secondary to the deficiency. Deficiencies are also found among alcoholics, the poor, the elderly and people having medical conditions, which prevent proper nutritional absorption. Adults lacking adequate vitamin A intake develop dry eyes and night blindness.
The fat-soluble vitamin is necessary for cellular communication, a healthy immune system, reproduction and healthy vision. The nutrient is additionally responsible for aiding in cell growth and differentiation. People need vitamin A from infancy and throughout life for the formation and repair of the heart, kidneys, lungs and other organs and systems.
Plant-based vitamin A is in the form of carotenoids or beta-carotene. Being fat-soluble, the compounds need fat and vitamin D in order to convert into the usable form known as retinol. On the other hand, vitamin A from animal sources is already in the retinol form.
The general RDA or recommended daily allowance for vitamin A is as follows:
Recommended Daily Allowance:
1-3 1,000 IU
4-8 1,300 IU
8-13 2,000 IU
14-18 1,000 IU
Adult 3,000 IU
Foods that are High in Vitamin A
Getting enough vitamin A is not difficult if eating a balanced diet. However, some foods are especially rich in the nutrient. Foods that are high in vitamin A include:
- Sweet potatoes or yams have 19,218 IU of vitamin A in every 100-gram serving. The popular vegetable is an abundant source of the nutrient whether fresh, frozen, canned or cooked.
- Beef liver has 22,175 IU in an 85-gram serving.
- Carrots offer 17,033 IU of vitamin A for each 100-gram serving. The vegetable provides a rich source of vitamin A whether raw, frozen or cooked.
- Dark leafy greens provide 13,621 IU of vitamin A for each 100 gram serving of the vegetable. Fresh, frozen or cooked greens in this category include collard greens, kale, spinach and turnip greens. Other options include beet greens, dandelion greens, Pak Choi and Swiss chard.
- Squash offers 11,155 IU in each 100-gram serving. The varieties of squash providing the greatest amount of the nutrient include Hubbard, pumpkin and all types of winter squash.
- Dried apricots contain 12,669 IU of vitamin A per 100-gram serving. Other dried fruits offering high levels of the vitamin include peaches and prunes.
- Romaine lettuce provides 8,710 IU of vitamin A in each 100-gram serving. Other vitamin A rich lettuce types include butterhead, chicory, green leaf and red leaf.
- Cantaloupe melon has 3,382 IU in every 100-gram serving.
- Cod liver oil has 800 IU in every teaspoon or five-milliliter serving. Cod liver oil is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
For some people, taking oral supplements is a more convenient means of getting vitamin A and other nutrients rather than relying on dietary intake. For more than two decades, the Siberian Health has been creating and offering an extensive line of natural products designed to improve nutritional health. The Novosibirsk-based company has many multiple vitamin supplements from which to choose. Some of their popular products include:
- Renaissance Triple Set
- Natural Antioxidant Formula 3
- Formula 4N.V.M.N
- Siberian propolis