RDA is 800 micrograms
Vitamin A is fat-soluble and you can take it either as carotenoids or as retinol (vitamin A’s other name). Carotenoids are converted to vitamin A in your body.
Vitamin A is stored in your liver, and the stores take some time to run down if they are not replenished.
Where do you get vitamin A?
You get vitamin A from animal foods such as liver, milk and eggs. Carotenoids are in fruit and vegetables such as peaches, mangoes, pineapples, apricots, carrots, broccoli and kale.
It plays a vital role throughout your body. It keeps the eyes in good condition, it boosts the immune system and it reduces the risk of cancer.
You need to increase your vitamin A intake if you smoke or drink too much: if you are on special low-fat or vegan diets; if you are stressed or live in heavily polluted areas.
Carotenoids and vitamin A may help fight some cancers, angina, herpes, colds and flu, osteoarthritis and protect people with low immunity.
Too much vitamin A
Vitamin A can be very toxic, so limit your intake in that form. Fortunately, carotenoids are not toxic in normal use. Excess might turn your skin an interesting shade of orange, but that is all.
Too little vitamin A
Lack of vitamin A gives symptoms ranging from poor sight and poor night vision, to frequent infections, boils or acne.
Vitamin A supplements
Multivitamin and mineral supplements are usually enough if you have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Don’t take vitamin A alone unless your doctor recommends it. Carotenoids have a question mark over their safety in smokers and heavy drinkers; get what you need from food.