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Vitamin A deficiency leads to blindness, susceptibility to infection, anemia and thyroid dysfunction

What does vitamin A do for me? Why do I need Vitamin A?

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! and today I’m talking about vitamin A.

Vitamin A works to ensure proper eyesight, gene expression, immunity, and prenatal development as well as red blood cell production. Deficiency leads to blindness, susceptibility to infectious diseases, anemia and thyroid dysfunction.

The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin A is 900 micrograms for adult males and 700 µg per day for adult females.

Beef liver – yuk! – is probably the richest source of vitamin A, but it is also present in more appealing foods like carrots, mangoes, spinach, squash and cantaloupe. Of course it can also be taken as a dietary supplement and most multivitamin and mineral supplements contain sufficient quantities of vitamin A to ensure adequate daily intake.

Nonetheless, the 2013 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimated that 44% of the US population does not meet the estimated average daily requirement for vitamin A. Let me say that again, the 2013 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimated that 44% of the US population does not meet the estimated average daily requirement for vitamin A.

Vitamin A taken as a supplement is generally safe as long as the tolerable limit of 10,000 international units per day is not exceeded, however, current expert opinion recommends taking no more than 5000 international units or 1500 micrograms per day.

So eat your spinach, don’t forget the carrots and ensure adequate intake by consuming a quality multivitamin and mineral supplement daily – all this for stable vision, prevention of anemia and ensuring a high performance immune system.

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! Thanks for listening and stay tuned for our next segment when I’ll tell you why you need vitamin D to stay healthy and happy!

Reference: The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, 2015. Online [available at]: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic Accessed May 25, 2015.