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Vitamin A

Do you remember when
your parents used to tell you that if you wanted strong eyes to eat your
carrots? Did they ever explain why? The short answer is that they are
chalk full of vitamin A. So what is it and what does it do? Vitamin A is
actually a term to encompass all retinoids, which occur naturally in
plant and animal tissues. Vitamin A isn’t just for the eyes though, it
also helps with bone growth, reproduction and bolstering the immune
system. 5,000 to 15,000 IU per day of Vitamin A, in the form of mixed
carotenoids or beta-carotene, is sufficient for children and adults
respectively, to have adequate levels and avoid deficiency.
Deficiencies, while rare in the US, can result in night blindness,
permanent blindness, and even some infectious diseases such as measles.
It is also of note that some forms of Vitamin A, such as retinol, can
actually be toxic if taken in large quantities and can lead to hair
loss, bone loss and liver damage. The best bet it to stay with plant
derived forms of Vitamin A such as beta-carotene. So listen your parents
and eat your carrots, you’ll be happy you did!