⚠️There are two primary sources of 𝐕𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐧 𝐀.
✅𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞, or 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘯 𝘈:
▶️All mammals get two-thirds of carotenoids from beta carotenes.
▶️Yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables (spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers)
▶️Yellow fruit (mango, papaya and apricots)
✅𝐀𝐧𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐜𝐞, or 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘝𝘪𝘵 𝘈:
▶️Fortified low-fat spreads
▶️Milk and yoghurt
▶️Liver and liver products such as liver pâté (don’t eat more than once a week, and pregnant women should avoid them altogether)
❇Examples of low concentration of Vit A (𝘪𝘯 𝘮𝘪𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 % 𝘰𝘧 𝘥𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘷𝘢𝘭𝘶𝘦).
➡️Peppers, sweet, red, raw, ½ cup (117/13)
➡️Mangos, raw, 1 whole (112/12)
➡️Black-eyed peas, boiled, 1 cup (66/7)
➡️Apricots, dried, 10 halves (63/7)
➡️Broccoli, boiled, ½ cup (60/7)
➡️Pistachio nuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce (4/0)
➡️Egg, hard-boiled, 1 large (75/8)
➡️Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 3 ounces (59/7) ➡Yoghurt, plain, low fat, 1 cup (32/4)
➡️Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids, 3 ounces (20/2)
➡️Chicken, breast meat and skin, roasted, ½ breast (5/1)
‼️Though most get their Vit A from plant sources, in reality, its absorption is not great.
🔸️When we eat beta carotenes, only 𝟺𝟶 𝘵𝘰 𝟼𝟶% 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘣𝘦𝘥.
🔹️In contrast, between 𝟾𝟶 𝘵𝘰 𝟿𝟶% of retinol from animal proteins will be absorbed.
❗To make the matter a bit more complicated, 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘻𝘪𝘯𝘤, 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘣𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 (conditions like abetalipoproteinemia) affect carotenoid absorption.
❎𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐢𝐝𝐬 are 𝘱𝘪𝘨𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴.
▶️They are the reason for the bright red, yellow and orange colours you see in plenty of fruits, vegetables, algae and bacteria.
▶️Their importance is related to their ability to help absorb light so that photosynthesis can be done.
They are also antioxidants.
You can take supplements, if you can't eat any of the above.
As we spoke before, 𝐕𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐧 𝐀 is 𝘧𝘢𝘵-𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘦.
⚠️We don’t eat Vit A, even in supplements.
When we consume 🍎fruits, 🥕vegetables or 💊supplements, in reality, we are taking something called “𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘺𝘭 𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴” (also known as preformed Vit A) or 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘯 𝘈.
✅One way or another, they suffer alterations to become 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘰𝘭𝘴. This is simply because those are easier absorbed in the small bowel.
❎As they are absorbed, small molecules called “𝐜𝐡𝐲𝐥𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐬” will transport them into the Liver.
❎If the Liver has reached its full capacity of Vitamin A, other small molecules called 𝐕𝐋𝐃𝐋 (𝘝𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘓𝘰𝘸-𝘋𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘓𝘪𝘱𝘰𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘴) will transport it (often already changed into retinyl palmitate) to other tissues.
✴Those tissues are mainly:
1️⃣Adipose tissue (AKA fat)
❎Another group of molecules called 𝐋𝐃𝐋 (𝘓𝘰𝘸-𝘋𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘓𝘪𝘱𝘰𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘴) might also do that transport.
‼️𝐕𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰:
▶️VLDL and LDL are what is called “bad cholesterol”
▶️HDL is what is called “good cholesterol”
✴Bear in mind any disease affecting the bowels (and I am referring to the 𝘴𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘭) will affect fat absorption capacity. In turn, this will affect Vitamin A absorption as well.
❓Remember we spoke about Vit A being fat soluble?
✅Conditions that affect Vit A absorption:
➡️Inflammatory Bowel Disease
➡️Cholestasis (conditions preventing bile passing to the bowel, from the Liver)
➡️Small bowel bypass surgery
➡️Significant parasitic infestation
➡️Low fat in the diet
⚠️People with any of these conditions should take 𝐕𝐢𝐭 𝐀 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬.
When Vit A is not absorbed, it will be excreted in stools.
The one that becomes inactivated in the bloodstream will be excreted in the urine.
✴The big problem is that our body absorbs Vit A better than it destroys it.
⛔This can lead to excessive accumulation and 𝐕𝐢𝐭 𝐀 𝐭𝐨𝐱𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲.
Also known as Retinol or Retinoic Acid.
Those names derive from an area in the back of the eye.
It was the first 𝘧𝘢𝘵-𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘦 but not the first Vitamin to be discovered.
🇪🇬It all started with the 𝘌𝘨𝘺𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘴, as they found that some types of 𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 could be cured by 𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳.
🔶️This Vitamin plays a vital role in 👁𝘷𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩, 𝘤𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 and 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘨𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺 (mainly 𝘢𝘪𝘳𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴, 𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵 and 𝘨𝘶𝘵), 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 and 𝘪𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺. We cannot forget how important it is for foetal development.
🤰But beware, pregnant women DO NOT need a Vitamin A dose higher than the daily recommended dose.
✅Due to this, many believe it is 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐕𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐧 in animal life (not just humans).
🔻When there is a deficiency, it can lead to:
➡️Low immune response
➡️Dry skin and hair
✴𝐍𝐨𝐭𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧: If you use creams containing Vit A, do not go on long sun exposures, leading to skin cancer development! On the other hand, sun exposure decreases skin Vit A.
✳𝗪𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨?
Use it after sun and/or at nighttime.
❓Is there a connection between Vitamin A and allergies?
🔸️The only relationship found so far is between lack of it and increased risk of allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis (hayfever).
‼️There is a hypothesis saying that Vit A might help prevent an adverse reaction when eating different kinds of food.
❌Too much Vitamin A can also lead to problems. Such as:
➡️Pain in the joints and bone
Dr Costa is a Consultant Paediatrician and fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.