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Vitamin A

What is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is the name of a group of fat-soluble retinoids, including retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters. [1] Vitamin A was recognized around 1816 by Francois Magendie when she saw malnourished dogs dying because of the forming of corneal ulcers. It was not until 1946, though, that David Adriaan van Dorp and Jozef Ferdinand Arens began to synthesize the first Vitamin A. [2] There are two forms of vitamin A that are available in the human diet: preformed vitamin A, and provitamin A carotenoids. Preformed vitamin A is typically consumed through your diet and most commonly present within meat and poultry items. Provitamin A is typically consumed through plants. The body then metabolizes the food and separates its parts into two sections, retinal, and retinoic acid, the active forms of vitamin A. Having a good balance between meat and vegetables in your diet will best fulfill your body’s vitamin A needs. [3]

What are the Health Benefits of Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is involved in a number of bodily functions including vision, immune function, reproduction, and cellular communication. Vitamin A is an essential part of rhodopsin, a protein that absorbs light in the retinal receptors. It also supports the differentiation and functioning of the conjunctival membranes and cornea. Vitamin A also plays a central role in cellular growth and differentiation, and is partially responsible for the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, as well as other organs. Finally, vitamin A has a strong impact on bolstering your immune system and has strong antioxidant properties as well. As a fat-soluble vitamin, men need at least 900 micrograms per day and women need 700 per day. [4]

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