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Building Nutritional Health


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Calcium Connection
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Label Reading
Vitamins-Mineral Supplements


 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. Major dietary sources of vitamin A include liver, egg yolk, fortified milk, cream and cheese. Major dietary sources of beta carotene include dark green leafy vegetables, deep orange or yellow fruits and vegetables, and fortified cereals. Vitamin A is composed of compounds called retinoids and carotenoids. Retinoids and carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, are precursors of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is measured in Retinol Equivalents (RE's). Retinol Equivalents measure the vitamin A activity of a food.

Major Body Functions:

  • Helps in the formation and maintenance of healthy skin and hair
  • Promotes proper bone growth and tooth development
  • Needed to maintain good vision
  • Fortifies the immune system
  • Maintains protective lining of lungs, intestine, urinary tract and other organs

Deficiency Symptoms:

  • Night blindness
  • Xerophthalmia (abnormal dryness and thickening of the cornea)
  • Hyperkeratosis (plugging of hair follicles with keratin, forming white clumps)
  • Depression of immune reactions

Excessive Intake and Toxicity Symptoms of Vitamin A:

  • Liver Damage
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Alopecia (hair can be easily plucked)
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Dry skin and hair, cracked lips
  • Loss of appetite
  • Birth defects

Excessive Intake and Toxicity Symptoms of Beta Carotene:

  • Yellow/orange skin color, especially on palms of the hands and soles of the feet
THE BEST SOURCES OF VITAMIN A AND BETA CAROTENE
Food Amount Retinol Equivalents
Sources of Vitamin A
Liver, beef 3 ounces 9124
Cod liver oil 1 tablespoon 4080
Egg yolk one large 97
Cheese, cheddar 1 ounce 86
Milk, fortified, whole 1 up 76
Cream, heavy whipping 1 tablespoon 63
Sources of Beta Carotene
Sweet potato 1 medium 2487
Carrot, whole 1 medium 2025
Pumpkin, fresh, boiled 1/2 cup 1325
Cantaloupe, cubed 1 cup 515
Broccoli pieces 1 cup 136
Apricots, whole pitted 1 each 92

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