The NHS says vitamin A helps keep our immune system in check, helping us fight off infection and illness, as well as assisting our vision and keeping our skin healthy. You should be able to get all the vitamin A you need from your diet and luckily there are lots of foods that contain vitamin A.
Related: Vitamin B12 benefits and sources
Vitamin A food sources
• Oily fish
• Liver and liver products
Another way you can produce vitamin A is through consuming foods containing beta-carotene, as the body converts this into vitamin A. foods that contain this include:
• Leafy green veg (including kale, broccoli and spinach)
• Red pepper
• Sweet potato
• Yellow fruits (such as mango, apricots and papaya)
How much vitamin A should I have?
You should be able to get all the vitamin A you need through your diet. However, if you do take vitamin A supplements, be careful, as too much of it can be harmful and affect your bones, especially if you're older.
The NHS recommends the following amounts of vitamin A for adults aged 19 to 64:
• 600 µg (micrograms) a day for women
• 700 µg (micrograms) a day for men
If you also take supplements that contain vitamin A, make sure your total daily intake of vitamin A from food and supplements doesn't exceed 1,500 µg (1.5 mg).
If you love liver pâté and eat it more than once a week, you may be getting too much vitamin A. If you eat liver every week, you shouldn't take vitamin A supplements, as you'll be consuming too much.
If you're pregnant, too much vitamin A can be harmful to your unborn baby, so you shouldn't take supplements and avoid foods that contain high amounts of it (such as pâté and liver products).
Signs of vitamin A deficiency
While apparently vitamin A deficiencies are rare, they can occur, especially for those living in poverty or eating a very restricted diet. If you're suffering from a mild vitamin A deficiency, you may experience tiredness, be more susceptible to infection and infertility. Those suffering from more serious vitamin A deficiency may experience dry hair or skin, white patches on your eyes, xerophthalmia or nyctalopia.