Posted by Dr. Matt Hand on May 5, 2021 6:57:12 PM
Best known for its key role in eye health and vision, vitamin A is actually a group of key compounds essential for many facets of human health.*
The active preformed vitamin A found in animal products is most bioavailable. In contrast, the provitamin A carotenoids from plants must be converted to the active form, and each person has varying efficiency in their ability to do so.
Since vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins, it lends itself perfectly to being delivered in liquid form. Liquid vitamins are better absorbed in many cases since they are already dissolved, making for a quicker response time and realization of health benefits.*
This important compound of nutrients plays various crucial roles in wellbeing, and inadequacy tends to be more common in vegans and vegetarians.
One of vitamin A’s most critical functions is to boost immune function, mainly by strengthening mucosal barriers of the gut, lungs, and eyes that trap and prevent harmful bacterias and other compounds from entering.*
While current research would benefit from further study of vitamin A, it’s clear that vitamin A supports the growth and distribution of T-cells and increases mucin production.* Both of these mechanisms work within the immune system to protect the body against foreign invaders.*
Vitamin A is used to help with acne, as inadequacy seems to contribute to an overgrowth of the protein keratin in the hair follicle, resulting in blockages caused by dead skin cells.* As far as healthy hair, vitamin A helps skin glands produce a sebum substance, which plays a role in keeping skin and hair moisturized.* Research points to the possibility of vitamin An inadequacy being one underlying factor in hair loss.*
Vitamin A helps to preserve eyesight, and night blindness can be a sign of inadequacy..* Studies also show that the beta carotene found in carrots (and other vegetables and fruits) can potentially slow age-related vision decline.*
A healthy reproductive system in both men and women relies on adequate vitamin A levels, along with the normal development of an embryo during pregnancy.* In men specifically, low vitamin A status might contribute to low sperm development, and women can experience inferior egg quality and trouble becoming pregnant.*,
With all supplementation, quality and delivery method are of utmost importance. More practitioners are beginning to recommend liquid vitamins, as they tend to be better absorbed, and dosing in higher quantities is easier when needed.
Liquid vitamins are often more bioavailable because they don’t need to be as actively broken down in the digestive system. They are especially helpful for children or anyone else who has trouble or dislikes swallowing pills, as well as people with impaired gut function.
Pills can be superior to liquid vitamins if you desire a slower absorption rate or if you experience loose stools due to the rapid absorption of a liquid form.
Even though preformed vitamin A can be obtained from plant sources, the necessary bioconversion to the active form is not very efficient in some people. The best plant sources include sweet potato, carrots, winter squash, kale, collard greens, red bell pepper, Swiss chard, turnip greens, and spinach. Provitamin A is considered the active form and is best obtained from lamb and beef liver, cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna, cheese, eggs, and butter.
Meat and dairy from grass-fed cows will offer higher amounts of vitamin A, not to mention other vital antioxidants and fatty acids.
Vitamin A is a group of fat-soluble compounds essential for eye health, immune support, healthy hair and skin, and optimal reproduction and fertility.*
Low levels are more often seen in vegans and vegetarians since the form of vitamin A found in plant sources isn’t always effectively converted to its active form, which is naturally occurring in certain fish, meat, and dairy products.
Always speak with your integrative doctor about which form of vitamin A is best for you, but more and more professionals are using liquid vitamin A with their patients due to its increased bioavailability, ease of providing a higher dose, and as an excellent option for kids or anyone with trouble swallowing pills.
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 The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 138, Issue 10, October 2008, Pages 1835–1839, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/138.10.1835
 Wu J, Cho E, Willett WC, Sastry SM, Schaumberg DA. Intakes of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Other Carotenoids...During 2 Decades of Prospective Follow-up. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015 Dec;133(12):1415-24. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2015.3590. PMID: 26447482; PMCID: PMC5119484.
 Busada JT, Geyer CB. The Role of Retinoic Acid (RA) in Spermatogonial Differentiation. Biol Reprod. 2016 Jan;94(1):10. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.115.135145. Epub 2015 Nov 11. PMID: 26559678; PMCID: PMC4809555.
 Clagett-Dame, M., & Knutson, D. (2011). Vitamin A in reproduction and development. Nutrients, 3(4), 385–428. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu3040385
 Daley, C. A., Abbott, A., Doyle, P. S., Nader, G. A., & Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition journal, 9, 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-9-10
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