Vitamin A deficiency (VAD), according to the World Health Organization, is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. There is also an increase of diseases and death from severe infections. It helps protect the body from lead poisoning, chemical preservatives, the effects of fluorescent lights, and essential for healthy mucous membranes, stimulates growth, and protects against infection.
The source of Vitamin A comes in animal foods such as meat, milk, and eggs in the form of retinol combined with fatty acids. Then there are the plant sources as carotenoids most common beta-carotene, converted by the body into Vitamin A. High levels of Vitamin A are linked to lower rates of cancer increasing response to abnormal cells supporting the immune system and maintaining healthy epithelial tissue.
Those that are on a low fat diet may be deficient in this vitamin since it needs fat to be absorbed. High stress along with high temperatures and antacids taken may lower storage levels. Symptoms include poor taste and smell, acne, , rough or dry skin (particularly on upper arms where hardened bumps of keratin form around hair follicles), poor digestion, diarrhea, ear infections, kidney and gallbladder problems, lack of stamina, defective teeth and gums, peeling or ridged nails, increased susceptibility to infection, eye infections, poor vision, dry eyes, and eye strain. Poor night vision is one of the first symptoms of a deficiency due to lack of visual purple.
Good sources to get recommended an\mounts of Vitamin A are from dairy: Butter and whole milk, egg yolk (consume the whole egg for optimal health), vegetables, fish like Cod and Halibut and Herbs: Parsley Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) and dandelion Taraxacum officinale
Note that the USDA database specifies the cooking methods used for the foods tested. This is not an endorsement of those cooking methods. Many of the cooking methods listed are not considere d healthy, and some of the food items are not healthy choices (a cheeseburger for example). Follow the general information in your course on healthy methods of preparation.
Listed in order of vitamin A per serving, with the highest first:
- Cod liver oil 1-T 4080-mcg RE
- Carrot, raw, peeled ½-cup 1715-mcg RE (compare with mixed vegetables,
frozen ½-cup 389-mcg RE)
- Squash 1-cup 1435-mcg RE
- Kale, boiled 1-cup 962-mcg RE
- Mangoes, raw1, 805-mcg RE
- Vegetable soup, 1-cup 588-mcg RE
- Cantaloupe, raw 1-cup 502-mcg RE
- Apricots, in syrup 1-cup 412-mcg RE
- Canned vegetable juice 1-cup 283-mcg RE
- Liver, fried 3.5-oz 10729-mcg (μg) RE
- Sardines 1-can 259-mcg RE
- Ketchup 1-cup 240-mcg RE
- All-Bran ½-cup 225-mcg RE
- Apricot juice, 1-cup 145-mcg RE
- Milk, vitaminA-fortified 1-cup 139-mcg RE
- Pumpkin, mashed ½-cup 132-mcg RE
- Margarine1-T 112-mcg RE
- Broccoli ½-cup 108-mcg RE
A regular dose should not exceed 25,000 IU (adults)/10,000 (children).
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