Vitamin A: Health Benefits, Best Foods, and More

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on
The health-supporting Vitamin A is found in foods such as spinach, eggs, carrots, and cantaloupe.

While I can’t stress enough just how important all the vitamins and minerals are for your overall well being, today we’re going to focus on vitamin A. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, a powerful antioxidant, and part of a family of compounds that are vitally important to the body. It supports the immune system, helps strengthen vision, assists with normal organ function, reproduction, and more. [1]

Vitamins are important for maintaining good health and if you don’t get what you need, vitamin deficiencies and health problems can result. Many people take a multivitamin as a precaution, some do not.

How can you get enough vitamin A and what are the overall health benefits?

Basic Forms of Vitamin A


This class of compounds plays an important role for healthy vision, cell and bone tissue growth, and immune function. And it’s because of that they’re often used in medicine. However, vitamin A in this form can only be found naturally in animal products like liver, eggs, and milk, so vegetarians and (especially) vegans need to be aware of where they’re getting their vitamin A.


In contrast, carotenoids like beta-carotene are found in plant sources like vegetables and fruits. Like retinoids, carotenoids can also help maintain healthy skin, eyes, and boost the immune system. [2] [3] Carotenoids like the one found in kale, carrots, and other vegetables have to be converted into a usable form of vitamin A (retinol) by the body. [4]

Best Vitamin A Foods

Vitamin A is available from a variety of food sources. The recommended daily intake varies with age and other circumstances.[1]Pregnant or lactating women can normally benefit from taking more each day. As always, consult with your doctor about any major dietary changes you are considering. If you would benefit from more vitamin A foods in your diet, there are a number of great options. [5]

Food IU (serving) DV (%)
Baked sweet potato (in skin) 1 whole 28,058 561
Beef liver (pan fried) 3 ounces 22,175 444
Boiled spinach (frozen) ½ cup 11,458 229
Carrots (raw) ½ cup 9,189 184
Cantaloupe (raw) ½ cup 2,706 54
Sweet red peppers (raw) ½ cup 2,332 47
Mangos (raw) 1 whole 2,240 45
Black-eyed peas (boiled) 1 cup 1,305 26
Apricots (dried) 10 halves 1,261 25
Broccoli (boiled) ½ cup 1,208 24

Health Benefits of Vitamin A

  • Vitamin in A is critical for good vision
  • Plays an important role in healthy bone growth [7]
  • Vitamin A is essential for reproduction [6]
  • Plays a role in cell division and cell growth [7]
  • Supports the immune system [3]
  • Supports skin health [8]

Dangers of Vitamin A Deficiency

Deficiencies may affect the elderly and chronically ill most of all. One of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness, as well as scaly skin, brittle hair and nails, poor growth, and poor immunity. [9] Those with vitamin A deficiency also tend to have low iron levels, which can lead to anemia. [10]

Considerations About Vitamin A Intake

Getting too much vitamin A is also a concern. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it’s stored in fat cells—typically the liver—where it will be used as needed. Too much vitamin A from supplements in a short or over a long period of time can be toxic and cause a condition known as hypervitaminosis A. Symptoms may include dizziness, nausea, headaches, skin irritation, pain in joints and bones, and even liver damage. [5] If you are taking vitamin A supplements, make sure they are from food-based sources like beta-carotene and use as directed.

What About Vitamin A Supplements?

Making the right dietary choices and taking a high-quality supplement can do wonders for your health. Because of the way it supports skin health, we have used emulsified vitamin A as a key ingredients in the natural skin care product, Parfait Visage®. Vitamin A has been used for years to encourage bright, vibrant looking skin and Parfait Visage harnesses that benefit to help you care for your skin. [8]

What’s your experience with vitamin A? Tell us in the comments below.


  1. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.
  2. Hughes, D. A. Effects of carotenoids on human immune function.”> The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 58 (3).
  3. Chew, B. P. & Park, J. S. Carotenoid Action on the Immune Response.The Journal of Nutrition. 134 (1).
  4. Tang, G. Bioconversion of dietary provitamin A carotenoids to vitamin A in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 91 (5).
  5. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.
  6. Margaret Clagett-Dame and Danielle Knutson. Vitamin A in Reproduction and Development. doi: 10.3390/nu3040385
  7. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A and Bone Health.
  8. Oregon State University. Vitamin A Skin Health.
  9. Dowling, J. E. & Wald, G. VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY AND NIGHT BLINDNESS. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 44 (7).
  10. Ning, Y. J. et al. Iron Deficiency and Marginal Vitamin A Deficiency Affect Growth, Hematological Indices and the Regulation of Iron Metabolism Genes in Rats. Journal of Nutrition. 132 (12).

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Pacer Kristen

    Why aren’t Goji Berries listed as a great source of Vitamin A? With just a one ounce serving, 140% of the recommended daily requirement is fulfilled, with no added fat and only 100 calories!

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