“The Eye Vitamin”
– Vitamin A is essential for keen
eyesight, especially night vision.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Comes
in 2 forms: Retinol and Beta-carotene:
• Retinol is pre-formed
(ready made) vitamin A. Found in animal
foods. Toxic in high doses.
• Beta-carotene (pro-vitamin
A) is found in many fruits and vegetables.
No significant toxicity has been observed.
When we consume beta-carotene, and enzyme
in our stomach converts it into vitamin
Vitamin A plays an important role in
several key processes in the body, but
the most important role is in vision.
Vitamin A is a constituent of retinal.
When combined with a protein called opsin
in the eye retina, forms Rhodopsin. Rhodopsin
is very important for night vision. A
deficiency in Vitamin A can cause night
Vitamin A is also important in maintaining
a healthy cornea (the surface of the eye).
Vitamin A deficiency leads to xerophthalmia
(a drying of the eye surface). This can
lead to cloudiness of the eye, followed
by ulcer formation.
Another important benefit of Vitamin
A is in the prevention of premature aging
of the skin. Sometimes known as the “skin
vitamin”. In Europe, many skin creams
are made from beta-carotene and vitamin
• Anti-oxidant properties.
• Fights skins disorders and prevents
(and reverses) ageing of the skin.
• Treats acne.
• Improves vision and prevents night
• Boosts immunity.
• Promotes healthy strong bones,
hair, teeth & gums.
• Speeds wound healing.
• Night blindness.
• Persistent headaches.
• Reduced resistance to infections
(particularly respiratory related).
• Mouth ulcers.
• Dry scaly skin, skin problems.
• Dry/brittle hair, dandruff.
• Kidney stones.
• Loss of energy and vigour.
• Retinol: Fish liver oil, meats
and animal products. Eggs. Butter. Cheese.
• Beta-carotene: Bright coloured
fruits and vegetables – Carrots
(one average-sized carrot provides 5,000
IUs of beta-carotene), sweet potatoes,
broccoli, spinach, turnip greens, kale,
cantaloupe, winter squash, mustard greens,
beet greens, papayas,
apricots, water-melons, tomatoes and lettuce.
The bio-availability of Vitamin A and
other fat-soluble vitamins is improved
with the consumption of fat or oil as
well as protein in the same meal. Together
C & vitamin
E in the same meal also helps
to ‘protect’ vitamin A and
enhance its bio-availability. However,
vitamin E in high doses (more than 600
IUs) has been shown to interfere with
Caffeine. Alcohol. Excessive iron.
More info >> Nutrient
U.S. RDA: 3,000 IUs.
EU RDA: 800 mcg (2,700
Retinol – DO NOT exceed 15,000 IU
Beta carotene – Up to 25,000 IU
When to take
Vitamin A (including vitamin
D and vitamin
E) are fat soluble vitamins. Best
taken regularly with food, because they
require some oil to or fat to improve
their bio-availability, thus improving
their absorption and utilization.
There is a general belief that the recommended
daily allowances (RDA) is inadequate,
and people with special needs (especially
following illness) should have more (up
to a max of 20,000 IUs for Beta-carotene.
Some quarters also recommend up to 15,000
IUs for Retinol, but I strongly recommend
against taking any more than the RDA of
3,000 IUs for pre-formed vitamin A (Retinol).
Taking Beta-carotene is more advisable,
as it is non-toxic. Our bodies will then
convert beta-carotene into retinol when
An assistant professor of medicine at
Harvard University Medical School, Dr.
Diane Feskanich, also explained that high
levels of vitamin A (in the form of retinol)
may cause bones to breakdown faster than
they can rebuild.
Vitamin A as retinol should be consumed
as little as possible. It is always better
to take beta-carotene.
Toxic levels can cause hair loss, bone
ache, nausea, persistent headaches, vomiting,
diarrhoea, skin problems, blurred vision,
skin lesions/rashes, irregular periods,
liver enlargement, and birth defect in
babies of women who take vitamin A while
Vitamin A as retinol is toxic and should
be avoided by pregnant women.
Beta carotene is not toxic and is considered
to be safe for adults and children.
Our liver is able to store vitamin A.
Up to a year's supply can be stored in