Most people tend to overlook the importance of vitamin A, myself included. In reality, vitamin A is a necessary and very important vitamin that should not be excluded from one’s regimen.
I believe the main reason why this vitamin is underappreciated is due to the misinformation that has been spread that it’s easy to take too much and therefore it’s toxic and should be avoided entirely. Vitamin A is actually hard to overdose on, with studies showing that one would have to take in excess of 100,000 IU’s for some time before having any serious issues. We don’t have to take anywhere near that amount daily to get great benefits from this vitamin.
Also, the majority of the population doesn’t know what form of A to take. The correct form is retinol. The wrong form is pro-vitamin A or beta-carotene. Unfortunately, the most well known form of vitamin A is beta-carotene, and this is the form that is most commonly recommended and found in multivitamins. This is a big problem because up to 50% of people cannot convert it into the active form of vitamin A, which is retinoic acid. For those non-meat eaters, you should be taking retinyl palmitate, since the retinol form is derived from animal sources, primarily fish liver.
You may be wondering how one might find out if they are deficient in vitamin A.
Here is a list of common signs to look for, and if you are experiencing any of these, you may have a deficiency: Problems with vision, including blurred vision and night blindness; and skin issues such as dry, flaky, and itchy skin might also be present. Itching, burning, and inflamed eyelids can also be a warning of an A deficiency. Since vitamin A is known to help normalize sebum levels, it’s not uncommon to have an overly oily face or scalp when more A is needed. You may also experience being more susceptible to infections.
Taking 5,000 – 10,000 IU’s daily is a good starting place. Here is the one I use: http://bit.ly/1kRWjbp. If one is severely lacking in vitamin A, a temporary larger dose might be needed. To get the most out of A, make sure you’re also taking it with 5,000 – 10,000 IU’s of D3. The synergy between these two nutrients is unbeatable. A and D help to keep each other in balance and work together to keep our immune systems strong, increase energy and fight aging. In fact, one of the biggest secrets to success with A is to never take it without D, and vice versa. For instance, one of the things that D does is increases antimicrobial peptides, and then A clears out the microbes. Vitamin A also helps protect against excessive build-up of vitamin D as well. Not taking these two amazing nutrients in tandem can also result in imbalanced immune function. This can lead to a chronic inflammation response while being unable to appropriately defend the body against a pathogenic attack.
As someone who believes that all health issues can be solved with diet and supplementation, it’s always nice to get first hand confirmation of this in action.
I added retinol to my regimen about 3 years ago. I initially started with a dosage of 25,000 IU’s. After a couple of months, I dropped my dosage down to 10,000 IU’s. Everything seemed fine for a while, but then I started to experience dry, itchy skin. I just attributed it to the weather being dry. Then, within a few months, I started to get dry, flaky, sometimes swollen eyelids and a couple of annoying itchy patches of skin on my back. I then knew something had to be out of balance. I initially thought I must be taking too much retinol, (or too much of another supplement), so I started to experiment with eliminating supplements from my diet to pinpoint the culprit. Well, after dropping retinol for a while, my dry skin and eyelid issue did not go away. I then tried eliminating other things, but did not get the relief I was looking for.
Ultimately, I did more research and found out that a key symptom of vitamin A deficiency is dry, itchy, swollen eyelids. So, I upped my dosage from 10,000 IU’s to 20,000 IU’s and within a day my eyelids were completely normal again and I did not have any dry, itchy skin anywhere on my body anymore.
This story shows how important diet and supplementation is to our everyday well-being, and it also exposes one (much) more interesting revelation: We are modeled from birth by the media, teachers, well-meaning relatives and friends to be very cautious with vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements. That these all-natural, necessary nutrients are somehow dangerous to our health is deeply ingrained in a large percentage of the population. They are not dangerous, and I find it very interesting that even someone like me, who knows this, avoids the news, etc. automatically assumed I was taking too much of something and I was possibly harming myself.
Think about this, and how you might inadvertently be doing this in your lives as well.
About the Author
Troy Pratt is a lifelong natural health enthusiast. After being inspired by his grandfather at the age of 12, he has gone on to study natural health and anti aging for over 3 decades. He is passionate about helping others to achieve great health and fight aging. Please visit him at http://www.antiaginghero.com.