Vitamin A: Fabulous Foods For Anti-ageing
Vitamin A is good for anti-ageing, it increases collagen growth, prevents wrinkles, smoothes and radiates the skin. Why wouldn’t we take a vitamin A supplement? Because supplementing with vitamin A can be dangerous.
What is vitamin A:
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin (along with D, E & K). It needs dietary fat to be absorbed and our body stores it. We don’t have the ability to stop storing vitamin A, even when we get too much of it. If we have too much of it, it’s toxic.
We need vitamin A for:
Growth and development in reproductive, bone, skin and cellular health; regulation of our immune system and good vision. It also has amazing antioxidant properties preventing disease… oh, and wrinkles!
You can get vitamin A from the following foods:
Animal food sources – in the form of preformed vitamin A.
Plant food sources – in the form of provitamin A (carotenoids).
So how much vitamin A do you need?
It’s recommend that women have a daily intake of about 700µg (900µg for men)*. Wow! A few serves of vegetables and you could easily exceed 3000µg of vitamin A. Should you be worried?
No, because plant sources of vitamin A aren’t really vitamin A, but they can convert into vitamin A if we need it. If our bodies don’t need vitamin A, then these plant sources don’t convert to it. No offence, but your body is way smarter than you!
Vitamin A from animal sources is used directly by our body as soon as it enters. So we could get toxicity effects if we ate too many animal sources of vitamin A. But really, we would have to eat 10 eggs, or drink 2 litres of milk for this to happen, no thanks. Actually getting enough vitamin A from animal sources alone would be pretty difficult, that is why it’s important to eat vegetables to complete our vitamin A stores.
So if our diet is reasonably healthy and contains animal sources and/or a bunch of fruit and veg, it would be pretty hard not to get all the vitamin A we need in a day.
So why would we need vitamin A supplementation? Advertising makes us believe we should have vitamin supplements just incase we are not meeting our nutritional needs, to bridge the gap, to have more energy. But this isn’t the case and can actually do us more harm than good.
I have a reputable brand of multi-vitamins sitting in front of me right now. The label says that one tablet contains 750µg vitamin A, preformed. So if we take that daily, and eat lots of animal products, our vitamin A stores are going to be higher than what we require. Maybe not reaching toxic levels, but whats the point of taking one if we’re easily getting enough from our diet anyway? Wouldn’t you rather give your body the natural stuff?
Giving your body additional vitamin A is not going to give you additional benefits, instead it’s more likely to cause harm.
So why do they make vitamin supplements then?
For people who need them. Some people can’t convert provitamin A (plant sources) to preformed vitamin A.These people would need to eat 10 eggs or drink 2 litres of milk a day in order to reach their vitamin A requirements. But with thanks to supplementation, they don’t have to.
Not being able to convert provitamin A to preformed vitamin A can be due to a variety of reasons namely genetics, digestive issues, gut health, alcohol abuse(!!), excessive exposure to toxins and some medications. Definitely get professional medical advice before supplementing.
So supplements were invented for people who need them, not for natural advanced wrinkle technology. So try to eat a varied diet, all in moderation with lots of fruit and vegetables to meet your vitamin A requirements naturally. Toxicity is difficult to achieve from food alone.
Vitamin A toxicity:
Vitamin A can be harmful and toxic in hight doses, we shouldn’t have more than 3000µg of it a day. Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include:
- Dry itchy skin
- Abdominal pain
- Bone and joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Severe birth defects for pregnant women
- Increased risk of bone fractures
- Skin disorders
- Blurred and double vision and even blindness
Vitamin A deficiency:
Vitamin A deficiency in Australia isn’t very common, but some symptoms of deficiency can be:
- Poor bone growth
- Reproduction problems
- Infections (due to less lubrication of our skin, eyes and mucous membranes making it easier for microorganisms to enter our body)
- Dry rough skin (can look goose like with bumps)
- Night blindness
*During pregnancy, lactation and under certain circumstances this value can change. This value is based on Australian recommendations found on the Nutrient Reference Values website.