Want Sharp Vision and a Great Immune System? Try Vitamin A (Maybe)!

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Every naturally occurring vitamin plays a role in your body’s health. The reason people take vitamin supplements is because we don’t all eat healthy, balanced diets. So if you really want to feel better and be healthier, the produce section of the grocery store—and not the supplements section—should be your first stop.

It’s a good idea to know which vitamins play what roles in your overall health, and how to obtain them.

Let’s talk a little today about Vitamin A. It’s key for good vision, a healthy immune system, and cell growth. Vitamin A is essential to bone growth and reproductive and immune system health. It also helps you repel bacteria and viruses more effectively, is essential to healthy vision, and may slow declining retinal function in people with retinitis pigmentosa.

There are two types of vitamin A. The active form of vitamin A (retinoids) comes from animal products. Beta-carotene is the second type of vitamin A, which comes from plants.

The American Heart Association recommends obtaining antioxidants, including beta-carotene, by eating a well- balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains rather than from supplements until we know more about the risks and benefits of supplementation.

And there’s risk with both types of Vitamin A. The reality is that high doses of antioxidants (including Vitamin A) may actually do more harm than good! Vitamin A supplementation alone, or in combination with other antioxidants, is associated with an increased risk of mortality from all causes, according to an analysis of multiple studies. In addition, because retinoids are stored in our tissues, too much animal-derived Vitamin A can build up in the body and become toxic.

As long as you are eating a diet that includes plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and fish, then your Vitamin A intake is probably about where it should be. Check with your doctor to be sure, and don’t take any supplements without her okay.

There are great Vitamin A choices at Bliss Shurfine Food Mart, from carrots to sweet potatoes, from kale to tuna, and if your doctor recommends supplements, we have those too! So why not stop in today and make sure your body is getting all the Vitamin A it needs?