Organic Vitamin A: Your Best Organic Sources for Vitamin A

Severe vitamin A deficiencies are a top cause of blindness in the developing world, putting millions of children at risk. A less severe deficiency can cause night blindness, or the inability of eyes to readjust vision from bright to dim light.

This vitamin, available from organic dairy products and organically grown fruits and vegetables, is actually a family of compounds that help maintain skin and mucous membranes, like the inside of your mouth. Vitamin A also has a role in bone growth, the immune system and  reproduction are functions.  The vitamin is measured in retinol activity equivalents. The recommended intake is 900 micrograms per day for men.

Good Animal Sources of Vitamin A

Natural preformed Vitamin A is found only in the fats of animal foods, including whole milk, butter, liver, egg yolks. You can find organic products for all of these. A cup of 1% milk has about 145 micrograms of vitamin A retinol activity equivalents, a cup of sour cream has nearly 450 and an ounce of caraway cheese has about 81. A cup of scrambled eggs has more than 400 micrograms. Organic poultry is also available. A cooked chicken leg, with skin, has less than 30 micrograms. Some studies suggest that organically raised animals have a lower fat content.

Good Plant Sources of Vitamin A

Organic sources of vitamin A about similar to non-organic sources. Rich plant sources include organic dark green vegetables, and yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. One of the best sources is sweet potatoes. One baked sweet potato contains about 2500 micrograms of retinol activity equivalents. Just one whole carrot has about 2000 mcg,  a cup of cantaloupe has about 500 mcg, a cup of  cooked broccoli has close to 400 mcg,  a cup of fresh apricots is about 400 mcg and a cup of sweet fresh red peppers contains about 800 mcg. A cup of canned pumpkin contains about 5,000 mcg, and a cup of cooked spinach, about 1,500 mcg.

Striking a Balance With Vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiencies can cause night blindness, which could progress to hardening of the cornea and complete blindness. Other symptoms include respiratory infections, diarrhea, a compromised immune system, brittle fingernails,  weakened bones and teech and inhibited growth in children. In the United States, deficiencies are rare unless there is an underlying disease. On the other hand, too much vitamin A can be toxic. Overdoses result only from taking too much in supplements, such as more than 100 times the recommended amount. The only food that can lead to an overdose are polar bear livers and the livers of some other large animals. The toxicity of vitamin A was learned through the health misfortunes of explorers who feasted on polar bear livers. Toxicity symptoms  blistered skin, weakness, anorexia, vomiting, headache, joint pain and liver damage. Vitamin A toxicity has also been blamed for birth defects. Common initial signs include dry lips and dryness of the nasal mucosa and eyes.

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