Vitamin A

A fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucous membranes, and skin. Promotes good vision, especially in dim light. It may also be required for reproduction and breast-feeding. Good sources include: eggs, meat, milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, cod and halibut fish oil. Most sources, however, are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. The precursor form of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, is found in plants. Sources of beta-carotene are carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, apricots, broccoli, spinach, and most dark green, leafy vegetables. The more intense the color of a fruit or vegetable, the higher the beta-carotene content. These vegetable sources of beta-carotene are free of fat and cholesterol. The body regulates the conversion of beta-carotene to Vitamin A based on its needs. With Vitamin A, as with many other vitamins, a certain amount is necessary, but too much is toxic. It is also known as retinol because it generates the pigments in the retina.