Vitamin A is important for good vision, skin, and immune function, healthy babies, and overall health. But knowing whether you’re getting enough, or too much, can be tricky.
On one hand, the federal government has concluded that a deficiency of vitamin A is so rare that in 2020, when new food labels come into effect, vitamin-A content no longer needs to be listed. On the other hand, analyses of government nutritional surveys by independent researchers, such as those at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, have found that more than one-third of teens and adults fall short on vitamin A.
In calculating the shortfall, researchers considered natural food sources, fortified foods, and dietary supplements. Not eating enough foods rich in vitamin A is one reason for low vitamin A, and conditions that reduce absorption of nutrients, such as celiac, Crohn’s, or other inflammatory digestive diseases, are another. Equally important, it’s also possible to get too much vitamin A, which can lead to liver abnormalities and birth defects.
Vitamin A Basics
There are two forms of vitamin A found in food and supplements:
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