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Inside look at Vitamin A, including the hidden dangers

Vitamin A is fat-soluble is and is essential for many bodily functions. Vitamin A  helps the eyes, immune system, and organs function properly. It is available through animal and plant-based foods. We will have a closer look at a few of the major positive impacts it has on the body as well as the potential danger. Don’t worry, it is safe and essential when taken in the correct amounts. Take too much for an extended period of time and it can throw you off a bit.

1. Promotes healthy long term eyesight

Vitamin A is important for maintaining night and dim light vision because it forms pigments — molecules that help you see color — in your eye that are required for night vision.

Without vitamin A, your eyes stop producing these pigments, which can eventually lead to night blindness. This condition causes difficulty adjusting to dim light or a complete inability to see in the dark.

“Vitamin A also plays a role in protecting the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye. This can reduce the risk of developing cataracts, which cause cloudy vision,” says Julienna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, a registered dietitian specializing in plant-based diets and the dangers associated with these diets.

Cataracts are a common eye condition that affects over half of the people in the US over the age of 80.

According to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study sponsored by the National Eye Institute,  vitamin A supplements — in addition to other vitamins that have antioxidants and zinc — may protect eye health in those with certain diseases.

The study included 4,757 participants aged 55 to 80 years old affected by cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, or both. Age-related macular degeneration is a condition that causes central vision loss, meaning details in objects directly in front of a person may appear blurry.

Participants were divided into four groups and given a daily oral supplement for five years. Each group received one of the following supplements:

  • Antioxidant formulation (which contained 15 mg of vitamin A), zinc, and copper
  • Zinc and copper
  • Just the antioxidant formulation
  • A placebo

The antioxidant formulation with zinc and copper slowed the progression of age-related macular dysfunction from intermediate to advanced by 25%, compared to 21% in those taking the minerals, and 17% in those taking the antioxidants. It also reduced the risk of vision loss by 19%.

2. Helps the immune system

Vitamin A is needed by your immune system for growing, maintaining, and strengthening epithelium and mucous tissues that line the majority of our organs. These tissues are the body’s first line of defense against pathogens and are a key part of the body’s innate immune response to infection.

Vitamin A also has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants prevent cells from becoming damaged in a process known as oxidative stress. Continual cell damage from oxidative stress can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and vision loss.

However, supplementary or extra vitamin A has not proven to be beneficial unless you are deficient. That said, diets high in plant-based vitamin A happen to be what most nutrition experts agree are best for you. Always best to get vitamins from your perfect balanced diet of meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and legumes… if you don’t have a perfect diet like 99.99999% of the people in the real world please take a Legit multivitamin.

3. Keeps organs humming along

Your organs will thank you for it… Normal amounts of vitamin A help the heart, lungs, and kidneys function by promoting the growth of healthy cells and tissues.

For example, a 2018 review found that vitamin A plays an integral role in the development and maturation of lung tissue, thereby promoting overall lung functioning. The same review found that deficiency in vitamin A is associated with an increased risk of developing lung problems such as asthma and respiratory infections like pneumonia and the flu.

4. Topically works as an acne treatment (start with a low dose product)

A type of vitamin A, available by prescription or in small doses in over-the-counter products, called retinol is considered one of the best topical treatments for acne. In fact, the guidelines for the care and treatment of acne set by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology suggest applying topical retinoids or retinol products as the first line of treatment for mild to severe acne.

Acne usually occurs when pores in the skin become clogged with dead skin cells and oils. Retinol treats acne by acting as an extreme exfoliator, removing these dead skin cells, and in turn promoting the growth of new cells — a process called cell turnover.

Topical retinol may be harsh on the skin as common side effects are itching, redness, or dryness. Some ways to reduce irritation include:

  • Applying one thin layer of retinol rather than thick layers or multiple applications
  • Apply the cream or gel every other day for the first two to four weeks
  • Using a gentle moisturizer

Be sure to apply sunscreen whenever using retinol products on the skin, as they make you more prone to sunburn and sun damage. Read more about finding the right facial sunscreen for you based on your skin type.

5. Helps with fetal development

Getting enough, but not too much, vitamin A during pregnancy is important for fetal development. Vitamin A is a major player with lung development in the child , deficiency during pregnancy will become quite apparent in/around the preteen years. Best to check with a nutritionist or at least your general practitioner for advice regarding nutrition during pregnancy. Vitamin deficiencies during pregnancy are very common, easily detected and easily rectified in most cases.


Taking the right amount…

Adult men should take 900 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin A daily whereas adult women should take 700 mcg. That is a basic figure and typically a good multivitamin (Legit’s Multi) and a healthy varied diet will provide you with the proper amount of vitamin A.

Headache, rash, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and irritability(commonly when other symptoms are present) are the side effects most will experience if you get too much A for too long… those were the hidden dangers I spoke of in the title. Just tried to grab your attention.

Take care, take your multi, stay healthy & stay Legit.


Strictly opinion and not medical advice. Consult your doctor, pharmacist and/or nutritionist before starting/stopping any supplement or exercise program.

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