Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects help to protect cells from damage.
Getting your essential vitamin A every day won’t enable you to see in the dark, but your eyes do need vitamin A to stay healthy.
Meat, full-fat dairy and egg yolks are all good sources of vitamin A.
Fruits, including the orange pigment, and vegetables are also a good source.
The way you prepare your food affects how well vitamins are absorbed.
For example, cutting up or cooking vitamin A-rich food will help you get the most out of it.
The best way to get enough vitamin A is to eat a varied diet that includes healthy proteins and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Taking a vitamin supplement may mean you get enough vitamin A into your body, but there may not be enough of other nutrients that your body needs to absorb the amount you need.
However, some people need to take supplements when their diet is restricted. Talk to your doctor if you are worried.
The Recommended Daily Intake in Australia for vitamin A ranges from 250μg (micrograms) daily for infants 0 to 6 months of age, to 900μg daily for men and 700μg daily for women.
Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should consult a dietitian for specific nutrition advice.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it gets stored in your body’s own cells. This means that if you have more supplements than you need, vitamin A will build up in your body.
It is unlikely that you will experience health problems from eating lots of vitamin-rich food.
But in some rare cases, if you have lots of a particular food (such as very large quantities of carrot juice or liver), vitamin A might build up over time.
Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that makes carrots orange and mangoes yellow.
If you have too much beta-carotene, your skin can turn a little yellow.
It is possible to take too much vitamin A so be careful. Taking high doses over a long period of time can result in harmful levels in the body.
There are some studies that show a link between beta-carotene supplements and an elevated risk of lung cancer in people who smoke cigarettes.
The Cancer Council recommends that you avoid taking more than 19mg of beta-carotene supplements, especially if you smoke.
The best way for most people to get the right amount of vitamin A is to have a varied diet that includes a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.
If you are concerned about your diet, please consult with your doctor.
1. Vitamin A and your health | healthdirect
2. BETA-CAROTENE: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews (webmd.com)
3. Vitamin pills' role in recovering from cancer | Cancer Council