Vitamin A, The Forgotten Key-Nutrient
We often tell patients and doctors that Vitamin A is the forgotten key nutrient. Vitamin A does not get nearly the press or media time it deserves.
This essential nutrient is responsible for healthy skin and epithelial cells. Those little guys are the cells that line our mouth, Gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and lungs. Hence the reason for many skin lotions and skin drugs with Vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A is also essential for a normal and healthy immune system. We often suggest patients take large amounts of this vitamin, although for a few days when infected.
However, serious CAUTIONS with Vitamin A and its precursor beta carotene supplementation exist:
If you are female, pregnant, or of childbearing age ingesting Vitamin A might be teratogenic, meaning it can cause birth defects. Hence our reason for advising childbearing-aged women to take natal-only formulas and be sure these are used exclusively for at least six months before conception. In addition to having limited Vitamin A, these formulas also contain extra Folic acid that helps prevent birth defects.
An additional CAUTION is that excess Vitamin A can be TOXIC, causing liver damage. The reason is that Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins, so it hangs around in our bodies a bit longer than other vitamins like Vitamin B.
So, please work with your physician on what dosages are healthy for you. Deficiency of this "key" nutrient is more likely to cause malabsorption syndromes and bowel diseases.
Carotenes, especially those found in leafy green and brightly-colored vegetable, is a good source of Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also one of the best sources! We rarely advise beta carotene in high supplement amounts, as a healthy diet is, by far, the best and likely safest. Because Vitamin A is critical to immune function, it prevents infection, many cancers, and, eye and skin diseases.
Finally, do not ignore this key nutrient! Pay careful attention to your daily vegetable and supplement intakes, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by how good you feel and look!
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