Vitamin A

Vitamin A

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for good health. It is required for vision, growth, to fight infection, and for bone remodeling. Two common types of vitamin A are retinol and beta carotene.


Studies in postmenopausal women showed that too much vitamin A intake from retinol appeared to increase the risk of hip fracture. There is no evidence of any association between beta-carotene intake and the risk of osteoporosis or related fracture. It makes sense to avoid too much retinol intake. It is however, important to get enough vitamin A in your diet. You can do so by including generous servings of foods high in beta carotene in your diet each day.

Foods containing retinol

Retinol is found naturally in foods of animal origin such as liver and fish liver oils. Low levels of retinol are also added to many fortified foods such as milk and fortified cereals.

Other sources of retinol

Retinol is found in many multivitamins, vitamin A supplements, and many combination vitamin A&D supplements. Retinol may be listed as retinyl acetate, vitamin A palmitate or vitamin A acetate. It is important to read the labels of multivitamins in order to select those that contain higher levels of beta-carotene and lower levels of retinol. In addition to dietary sources, oral synthetic retinoid medications taken by some people to treat acne or other skin conditions have also been shown to be detrimental to bone health.  

The best way to get vitamin A

You can get all of the vitamin A that you need by consuming foods rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is found in plant foods, especially in dark green leafy vegetables and deep yellow or orange colored fruits. 

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