Vitamin A and How to Best Incorporate it to Attain its Benefits.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that supports cell growth, immune function, and fetal development. Studies also indicate a link between a diet high in Vitamin A and a lower risk of certain types of cancer. In addition, Vitamin A helps maintain surface tissues like skin, lungs, intestines, bladder, and inner ear. But perhaps one of the best-known functions is Vitamin A’s role in supporting vision and eye health. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Vitamin A is fat-soluble, which means it can be stored in body tissue for later use. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin A is 900 micrograms for men and 700 micrograms for women. Getting your Vitamin A through food rather than supplements is ideal, and most people can get this in their regular diet without synthetic supplements. Though Vitamin A deficiency is uncommon in developed countries like the United States, it’s common where populations may have limited access to food sources. Less critical symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency include skin issues such as hyperkeratosis and acne. (1)

Vitamin A is best known for its support in eye health. Vitamin A plays a role in the manufacture of rhodopsin. In the eye’s retina, rhodopsin is a pigment highly sensitive to light and thus valuable for low-light environments. Effectively, it helps you see better in the dark. Vitamin A has been linked to preventing blindness during childhood as it plays a vital role in eye development early on. Many studies show that though it retains eye health and could possibly hold off potential complications, it has little to no effect on existing cases of myopia and AMD.

In addition to supporting your eye health and vision, Vitamin A has also been linked to:

Skin health: Vitamin A may prevent the overproduction of keratin in hair follicles, which is known to cause skin disorders like acne.

Immune health: Vitamin A is linked to the production of white blood cells, the first line of defense against pathogens in the body.

Cancer Prevention: The association between the use of vitamin A supplements and reduced risk of lung, prostate, and other types of cancer is still being studied. A better understanding of the link between cruciferous vegetables and cancer risk may help to change dietary behavior to prevent the insurgence of cancer. (2,3,5)

Good sources of Vitamin A include liver, fish, leafy greens like watercress and arugula, milk, and eggs.

Easy ways to start incorporating one cup of watercress each day can be in one of our delicious recipes like our  Salad with Watercress May and Bacon. This nutrient-packed combo is perfect for tailgating this fall. Another healthy summer treat comes with our Margherita Pizza with Fresh Watercress. Try our Watercress, Arugula, & Avocado Salad, which will become your on-the-go recipe quickly.

History Lesson:

When Hippocrates founded the first hospital on the Island of Kos around 400 BC, he grew wild watercress in the natural springs and used it to treat blood disorders.

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1.Mayo Clinic

2. NIH National Library of Medicine Vitamin A, Cancer Treatment and Prevention: The New Role of Cellular Retinol Binding Proteins

3. NIH National Library of Medicine: Vitamins as Possible Cancer Biomarkers: Significance and Limitations

4. Brown: Higher vitamin A intake linked to lower skin cancer risk

5. University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Study

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