Did you know that vitamins are classified into two groups? There are water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins include Vitamin C and the Vitamin B family. Fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, D, E, and K. Water-soluble vitamins mean that these vitamins are dissolved in water throughout our body. These water-soluble vitamins are carried to our tissues but are not stored there. Instead, any excess vitamin intake will be excreted out of our body through our urine. Since water-soluble vitamins are excreted out of our body easily, they need constant replacement.
Fat-soluble vitamins come from foods that contain fat. This goes back to our macronutrient blog on "Fat". In our generation today many people cringe at the term fat, but it is vital to understand that fat is an important part of our health. Our body can store these fat-soluble vitamins in the liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle within our bodies. As our water-soluble vitamins have already been covered in past weeks blog, we are transitioning into our fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A is one of our fat-soluble vitamins that impacts our heath is many ways. When Vitamin A is found in our body, it is known to be part of a group that includes retinoids, such as retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters.1
Functions of Vitamin A
This vitamin helps your body maintain good vision by adjusting to light in our environment.1 Vitamin A is also imperative to support cell growth, protects the body against free radicals and is a maintenance contributor to our heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.1 High free radical development has been shown to impair recovery rates, decrease muscle tissue health and affect performance levels. Ensuring that you are consuming proper amounts of antioxidants which include vitamin A will help gym -goers reach their fitness goals. Without proper consumption of this vitamin your body would not be able to keep its proper maintenance of cells and tissues.
Recommended Intake of Vitamin A
According to the National Institutes of Health and Institutes of Medicine this chart displays the recommend intake amongst different genders and age groups for proper consumption of Vitamin A. 1,2 It is important to hit the Recommend Dietary Allowance (RDA) to allow your body to utilize this vitamin efficiently. Since Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, your body can store certain amounts of this vitamin to be used at a later time.
Food Sources of Vitamin A
Vitamin A can be found in foods such as beef liver, sweet potatoes, spinach, mangos, eggs, carrots, cantaloupe, chicken, baked beans, salmon, herring, fortified breakfast cereals, French vanilla ice cream, green leafy vegetables, and more. Vitamin A needs can easily be achieved with a regular American diet, only 28%-37% take a Vitamin A supplemnt.1 The population that is consuming the supplement are for those who are at risk for deficiency of this vitamin.
Other Facts of Vitamin A
There are two type of Vitamin A found naturally in our diet.1 The first form is preformed Vitamin A which includes retinol and retinyl ester which can be found in food that come from animal sources. The second form is provitamin A carotenoids that can be found in plant foods that contain orange, red, and yellow pigments. High intakes of carotenoids that are found in certain vegetables have been associated with lower risk of lung cancer.
After reading this blog I hope you have obtained some basic knowledge around Vitamin A and the important role it has in our body. For any further questions you may have on Vitamin A, be sure to consult your Forever Fitness staff!
National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A. Updated February 14, 2020. Retrieved on March 1, 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/#en5
Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2001.