Vitamin A – Retinol

Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A refers to different chemical compounds which have a vitamin A effect on the body. Vitamin A is only found in foodstuffs of animal origin.
Vitamin A is also associated with links to pro-Vitamin A. These are included only in plant-based foods, such as vegetables and fruits. For example, these include over 600 varieties of beta-carotene. Pro-vitamin A or beta-carotenes are associated with vitamin A, because they can build retinol, i.e., vitamin A, in the body.
Vitamin content in foods and the daily requirements for people can be specified due to different forms of so-called equivalents. These refer to the amount of a vitamin A or form of pro-vitamin A, which has the same effect as 1 milligram of vitamin A (retinol).

Functions in the Body

  • Important for good vision, especially for night vision
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Protects skin and mucous membrane functions
  • Supports iron metabolism
  • Regulates genetic cell and tissue formation
  • Reproduction, such as healthy embryo development in the womb

Deficiency Symptoms

  • Night blindness
  • Infections
  • Changes in the skin and mucous membranes
  • Growth disorders
  • Disorders in reproductive organs

Overdose

Vitamin A is stored in the liver. Long-term supplementation through the use of vitamin tablets should be avoided in order to prevent overdose. Excessive intake can lead to liver damage, dermatitis, bone pain, headaches and nausea.

Interactions

+ Increases beta-carotene’s stability with vitamin C and vitamin E.
– Chronic liver and kidney diseases affect vitamin A’s storage and transport. Also, protein malnutrition, infectious diseases and generally poor nutritional intake reduce the body’s vitamin A status.

Sources

Vitamin A: Liver, egg yolks, whole milk, butter and cheese
Pro-vitamin A: Carrots, spinach, lamb’s lettuce, Swiss chard, broccoli, pumpkin, mango and apricots

Recommended Daily Amounts

(male/female)
Young people 1.1 mg / 0.9 mg
Adults 1.0 mg / 0.8 mg
Adults over 65 years old 1.0 mg / 0.8

Beta-carotene
Young people 2-4 mg
Adults 2-4 mg
Adults over 65 years old 2-4 mg

«5 a Day» Helps Your Vitamin Supply

The daily requirement of 2 mg of beta-carotene can already be fulfilled by 25 grams of carrots or 40 grams of spinach. This daily requirement can also be fulfilled by fruits; with 90 grams of apricots or mango.