Vitamins For Dummies
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Vitamin A is essential in a healthy diet. This crucial fat-soluble vitamin was the first vitamin to be officially named, so it became vitamin A. Your body needs a steady supply of A to maintain healthy skin, good eyesight, and growth in kids.

Vitamin A has become a credible antioxidant for cancer prevention; and as an active immune system enhancer, it helps prevent other diseases as well. Beta-carotene is a double vitamin A molecule and must be converted to vitamin A in your body. It is water-soluble, meaning that it dissolves in water. The body can eliminate what it doesn’t use, and thus it has less toxic potential than vitamin A, which can build up.

Here are some key uses of vitamin A:

  • Used to treat acute infections.

  • Helps treat skin problems — especially acne.

  • Improves poor night vision.

  • Protects the body from the cell-disturbing effects that many toxic chemicals have. Research shows that beta-carotene has strong antioxidant activity and can help protect you from developing some kinds of cancers — especially skin cancer and lung cancer.

    If you smoke or get some sun exposure, vitamin A or beta-carotene is an excellent addition to your daily supplement program.

Vitamin A is found naturally in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, such as spinach, as beta-carotene and in animal fats, such as egg yolks as true Vitamin A. It’s also called retinol because of its beneficial effects on vision.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is between 3,000 to 10,000 IU, depending on your age and the state of your health, while a safe beta-carotene intake is 10,000 to 50,000 IU.

Deficiencies of vitamin A adversely affect the skin, immune function, and eyesight. Toxic effects of vitamin A result from taking too much over time; beta-carotene’s only adverse effect is giving the skin an orange color.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac., is an holistic health expert whose many books include Herbal Remedies For Dummies??. Elson Haas, M.D., is the author of Staying Healthy with the Seasons and The Detox Diet.

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