All About Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a very important vitamin essential to our health. It is a fat-soluble vitamin meaning it needs fat to dissolve (like olive oil). It is also called retinol and is essential for good visual health and aids in cell turnover, growth, reproduction, and immunity in our bodies. Vitamin A is also very well known for playing a big part in healthy skin. The recommended dietary intake is different for each age and sex:


  • 0-6 months: 250 µg/day
  • 7-12 months: 430 µg/day


  • 1-3 years: 300 µg/day
  • 4-8 years: 400 µg/day
  • 9-13 years: 600 µg/day


  • 14+ years: 900 µg/day


  • 14+ years: 700 µg/day

During Pregnancy

  • 14-18 years: 700 µg/day
  • 19+ years: 800 µg/day

During Lactation

  • 14+ years: 1,100 µg/day


Vitamin A Toxicity

There is also a functional high (upper limit) for vitamin A and if you go over this upper limit it can cause possible serious damage. Excess vitamin A can cause vision problems, mouth ulcers, head confusion, swelling of bones, and if you are pregnant, it can cause possible birth defects. It is hard to get too much vitamin A from food alone but can come from taking supplements long-term. Upper Limits:


  • 0-12 months: 600 µg/day


  • 1-3 years: 600 µg/day
  • 4-8 years: 900 µg/day
  • 9-13 years: 1,700 µg/day
  • 14-18 years: 2,800 µg/day


  • 19+ years: 3,000 µg/day

During Pregnancy and Lactation

  • 14-18 years: 2,800 µg/day
  • 19-50 years: 3,000 µg/day


Vitamin A Deficiency

Just like you can intake too much vitamin A, you can also get too little vitamin A. Getting too little can also cause possible serious effects on the body. People who are most at risk for not getting enough vitamin A include pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants, children, and if you have cystic fibrosis and chronic diarrhea. People in developing countries also are at risk of not getting enough vitamin A. Deficiency symptoms can include:

  • night blindness
  • dry skin and eyes
  • infertility and trouble conceiving
  • damage to mucous membranes
  • slowed growth
  • poor wound healing
  • acne and breakouts


Foods Containing Vitamin A

It is best to get your vitamin A intake from food sources instead of supplements as there is less of a chance of intaking too much Vitamin A. Here is a list of some great vitamin A sources and their Daily Value (DV) per serving (these also may vary depending on the brand and portion sizes so make sure to look at your labels!).


  • Beef Liver (3 oz) – 731% DV
  • Lamb Liver (1 oz) – 236% DV
  • Liver Sausage (1 slice) – 166% DV


  • Cod liver oil (1 teaspoon) – 150% DV
  • King mackerel (half a fillet) – 43% DV
  • Salmon (half a fillet) – 25% DV
  • Herring (3 oz) – 24% DV


  • Sweet potato (cooked) – 204% DV
  • Spinach (frozen, boiled, 1/2 cup) – 156% DV
  • Winter squash (cooked, 1 cup) – 127% DV
  • Kale (cooked, 1 cup) – 98% DV
  • Collards (cooked, 1 cup) – 80% DV
  • Carrots (1/2 cup) – 51% DV
  • Sweet red peppers (1/2 cup) – 13% DV


  • Mango (1 whole) – 12% DV
  • Cantaloupe (1/2 cup) – 15% DV
  • Pink of Red Grapefruit (1 medium grapefruit) – 16% DV
  • Watermelon (1 wedge) – 9% DV


To learn more in depth you can check out these websites for more information or even visit Dr.Brooke’s website!

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