You hear all about them in every day conversation but what do you really know about vitamins? Everyone knows that they’re good for us but how are they good for us? Give us the details, please!
Vitamin A isn’t a single molecule, but a complex collection of health-promoting molecules. In it’s retinol form, it can be found in eggs, shrimp, and dairy products. The A doesn’t stand for antioxidant, but maybe it should. The molecules under this category act as powerful antioxidant protection against free radicals, which causes damage to cells, proteins and DNA. That’s only one reason why Vitamin A is important for your total-body cellular health.
Vitamin A comes in fat soluble forms of retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid and those forms aid in cell growth, differentiation, and communication. Cellular growth and communication are pretty self-explanatory, but you may not be familiar with differentiation. This important process helps cells in your body specialize to take on the many unique tasks your body performs.
Vitamin A also has been shown to support healthy tissues, skin, immune function, and reproduction but one of the most important things it does is protect your vision. Vitamin A is a building block of an important light-absorbing protein (like Rhodopsin) in your eyes’ retina receptors.
Your diet provides two types of vitamin A: preformed and provitamin A. Preformed Vitamin A must be converted into active forms like retinol. Carotenoids (plant pigments) fall into the category of provitamin A nutrients. Beta-carotene is the most common example, it’s basically two vitamin A molecules stuck together so it’s easily and efficiently converted to retinol.
So let’s review – Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin critical for eye health, healthy organs and tissues, immune function, your skin, and a healthy pregnancy. All extremely good reasons to make Vitamin A a part of your daily life and nutritional plan.