Vitamin A–Are you Deficient?

Did you know that Vitamin A is important for a healthy immune system, healthy skin, eyes, and mucous membranes?  Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness in the developing world.

Some possible signs of deficiency include immune problems, frequent infections, colds or flu, skin problems (dryness, rashes, acne), brittle hair and nails, roughness on elbows, chronic sinus problems, eye problems (poor night vision, impaired vision, eyelids glued shut in the morning, inability to distinguish the colors blue and yellow), lung weakness, loss of smell and taste, swollen lymph nodes, and infertility.

Foods high in vitamin A include wild-caught salmon, mackerel, and sardines, cod liver oil, butter (unsalted, organic is best), and egg yolks from pasture-raised chickens.

Beta-Carotene is found in plant foods and converted to vitamin A in the body.  It gives the yellow and orange color to foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, mangos, pumpkin, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and apricots.  Other good sources  include sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted), peas, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables.

Some herbs high in vitamin A are spirulina, gotu kola, barley grass, yellow dock, uva ursi, peppermint, parsley, and alfalfa.

Individuals with diabetes or hyperthyroidism may not store vitamin A.

If there is insufficient friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract, it may be difficult to absorb vitamin A.

Healthy actions:

Include plenty of of foods rich in vitamin A and/or beta-carotene in your daily diet, as well as a serving of fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kefir, apple cider vinegar, or plain, organic, unsweetened yogurt with the words “live, active cultures” listed on the label.  Sweetened yogurt is counterproductive, as sugar feeds the growth of unfriendly bacteria.

Consider taking a multi-strain probiotic, especially if you have digestive or immune issues and don’t eat fermented foods.

My go-to supplement is Ultimate Green Zone, which helps to fill in nutritional gaps.  It contains a variety of whole foods and herbs rich in beta-carotene and essential fatty acids, as well as prebiotics to help feed friendly gut bacteria.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.