Did you know that there are 13 vitamins essential for life? They are essential because each one of them serves a whole host of important functions in the body.
Take for example Vitamin A. It is needed for:
- Immune function
- Bone growth
- Skin integrity
- Reproductive health
- Optimal gene expression
- Red blood cell production
This fat-soluble vitamin is found in animal foods as preformed vitamin A and in plant foods as its precursor – carotenoids.
Top sources include:
- Beef liver
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark coloured veggies (spinach, kale, collards, etc.)
Vitamin A status can be tested through a simple serum (blood) test and deficiency can produce notable symptoms such as vision problems, poor immune function, skin and hair conditions, thyroid dysfunction + more (we’ll explore some of those in our Body Signs series).
Zinc and iron deficiencies are often associated Vitamin A deficiency (zinc is needed for vit. A metabolism, whereas vit. A is needed for iron metabolism).
- Lord R, Bralley J. Laboratory Evaluations For Integrative And Functional Medicine. Duluth, Ga: Genova Diagnostics; 2012.
- Higdon J. Vitamin A. Linus Pauling Institute. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-A. Published 2022. Accessed January 7, 2022.