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Vitamin A: foods, benefits & RDA

Siski Green / 17 November 2021

Vitamin A is important for keeping your eyes in good condition and boosting your immune system.

Peaches on a wooden table
Fruit such as peaches and mangoes contain vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is the vitamin most people associated with being able to see better in the dark, but it’s helpful for a wide range of other bodily functions too.

What is vitamin A used for and does it really work?

Vitamin A is used by your body in the fight against infection, helping to keep your immune system in good shape, along with improving night vision and keeping your skin healthy.

Older women and men should get no more than 1.5mg of the vitamin per day.

What’s the best way to take vitamin A?

As with all vitamins but one (vitamin D) the best sources of vitamin A are natural and diet-based.

You’ll find cheese and other dairy products, eggs, oily fish and liver are good sources.

Beta carotene can also be converted by your body into retinol and sources of that include green leafy veg, carrots, sweet peppers and sweet peppers, as well as yellow and orange fruit such as cantaloupe melon, tangerines, mangoes, peaches and papaya.

You should be wary of overeating foods that are very rich in vitamin A such as liver, for example. Eating liver, for example, more than once a week could increase the amount in your body to potentially risky levels over time. However, you can’t overdose on vitamin A from carotenoids.

Where can I get vitamin A?

Most multivitamins contain vitamin A and you should be careful not to get too much (more than 1.5mg per day).

What are the side effects or contraindications of taking vitamin A?

It is possible to take too much vitamin A over time – there is some evidence that more than 1.5mg per day increases your risk of bone fractures in later age. See your GP before taking any vitamin A supplements.

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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.