Vitamin A has a special relationship to the “lining cells” of the body, including the eyes, urinary tract, bones, teeth and the gastrointestinal tract (pertaining to the stomach and intestines).
Vitamin A is also known as an anti-infection vitamin, helping the body fight off disease. This vitamin is an essential constituent of the pigments which the retina of the eye uses to register visual stimuli.
A lack of vitamin A affects the skin, the digestive system, respiratory tract, genito-urinary system, special senses and the glandular system of the body. Other signs of deficiencies include, cystitis, inability to gain weight, graying of hair, dry mouth, insufficient milk production for nursing mothers as well as various eye conditions.
Vitamin A is available from many fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as in cod and halibut liver oil, egg yolk and cheeses. For vegetarians or persons who prefer to obtain vitamin A from fruits and vegetables, carrot juice is high in this vitamin, as well as parsley, spinach, beet greens, broccoli, apricots, peaches, asparagus, peaches, pecans, mustard greens and many other green leafy vegetables.
Not all vitamin A supplements are the same. Beta-carotene and retinyl palmitate are not the complete spectrum of the vitamin A complex. There are more than 750 known carotenoids naturally occurring and synthesized by plants. These richly colored molecules are the sources of the yellow, orange and red colors of many plants.
When adding vitamin A to your supplement program, choose a supplement that contains the full spectrum of the vitamin A complex or look at the ingredient list for carrot root or sweet potato and not just beta-carotene. Carrots and sweet potatoes contain more than 200 known vitamins, minerals, enzymes, factors, cofactors, antioxidants and carotenoids.
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