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Our bodies need a lot of things to keep them going. Like the incredibly complex machines that they are, human bodies require a specific allotment of various nutrients to power their cells, tissues, organs, and muscles, and to keep you up and moving around, and feeling healthy.
You’re no doubt familiar with what are referred to as the “macronutrients,” which comprise carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. We need a fair amount of each of these things to keep going, and our food tends to be made up in large part of these three classes of molecules.
Micronutrients, a.k.a. Vitamins
But then we also have the micronutrients. These are certain compounds that we need in comparatively smaller quantities. Also referred to as vitamins, there are 13 of them for humans, and each plays an important role in the body. Without at least a little of any given one of them, we would die, just as we would die without sufficient proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. The difference is the amounts we need them in, and their very specific functions. Vitamins are needed in radically smaller amounts than macronutrients, and each has a specialized function. There are certain levels of each vitamin that are required for survival, but having even higher levels than the bare minimum can confer additional benefits.
As you may have noticed by now, Vine Vera is putting special emphasis on Vitamin A this week. As such, we decided that a dedicated article on this vitamin and what it does was in order. Vitamin A comes in the forms retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and carotenes. Vitamin A is needed for immune system health, good vision, and efficient cellular communication.
Benefits of Extra Vitamin A
The word “extra” is key here. The benefit of having any vitamin A at all is, well, not dying (which is a pretty nice benefit!). But as with almost any vitamin, having some extra can confer additional benefits beyond mere survival. Having high levels of vitamin A can act as a safeguard against future vision loss, and it (especially alongside vitamin C) will boost your immunity to contagious disease. It can also make your skin softer, less likely to get discolored or wrinkled, and less likely to break out.
Vitamin A Deficiency
We mentioned that complete and total lack of vitamin A is fatal, but there is also a gray area below the recommended levels for decent health, but while still having enough to not drop dead. And even if you do lack the vitamin completely, death will not be immediate (imminent, but not immediate). Vitamin A deficiency can affect your vision, and will first cause “night blindness” or inability to see well in the darkness, and can even ultimately cause near-blindness or blindness during the day as well. With low vitamin A levels, you will also be more susceptible to acne, and your immune system will be compromised, leaving you wide open for contagious diseases.
Vitamin A Sources
Vine Vera strongly recommends you take a balanced multivitamin every morning. Any halfway-decent multivitamin will contain a dose of vitamin A, and all the other vitamins and minerals will be a boon to your good health too. To get additional vitamin A on top of this, you can take a standalone vitamin A supplement, or eat lots of orange veggies, like carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and more. This is because the orange color of these plants is caused by the presence of carotenes. Fish and dark, leafy greens are also good sources of vitamin A.