Important for the functioning of the eyes and cell membranes. Too little may lead to night blindness, scaly skin and poor growth. Vitamin A may also be involved in resistance to certain diseases.
Offal, cheese, eggs, butter, margarine, fish oils, green, yellow and orange vegetables, e.g. carrots, cabbage and spinach, apricots, broccoli, canteloupe melons, pumpkins and sweet potatoes
Tablets, oil-filled capsules, bottles of oil, e.g. Cod Liver oil, all of which are taken orally. Maximum dose 15,000 IUs daily unless you are pregnant - see below.
Children 350-500 mcg
Women 600 mcg
Pregnant women 700 mcg
Lactating mothers 950 mcg
Men 700 mcg
If you take a supplement of more than 9,000 mcg or 30,000 IU, you may suffer Nausea & Vomiting, Dizziness, dry scaly skin, Hair Loss, fatigue or Headaches, liver or bone damage or double vision.
N.B. Vitamin A can harm the unborn foetus. It has been suggested that there is a relationship between the incidence of birth defects and vitamin A intakes of more than 3,300 mcg per day during pregnancy. For this reason women in the UK who are or might become pregnant are advised not to take supplements containing vitamin A unless directed to do so by a doctor or antenatal clinic. If you are taking a general multivitamin and mineral supplement, check with you doctor first that it does not contain too much vitamin A. It is also wise to avoid eating liver in pregnancy as this can cause damage too.
Beta-carotene supplements are not toxic, although high intakes lead to a yellow appearance.
Dosages advised are deliberately on the safe side and may not be high enough to give benefit, but it is recommended that higher dosages should only be taken under the care of a practitioner experienced in nutritional medicine.
Side Effects refer to effects of much larger doses on the whole than those recommended here.
* for explanation, please see Introduction to Nutritional Supplements