How to Best Absorb Vitamin A Supplements

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Vitamin A is needed to maintain healthy skin, prevent night blindness and protect against cancer and other diseases; it may also help keep your blood sugar balanced. Vitamin A is fat soluble and is most commonly found in two forms: preformed vitamin A (or retinol) and beta-carotene.

Things You'll Need

  • Beta-carotene Complex
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

Instructions

  1. Take vitamin A supplements with fatty foods, which will help with absorption. Vitamin A needs fat in order to be absorbed properly.

  2. Take vitamins A and E together. Vitamin E is necessary for vitamin A to be properly metabolized.

  3. Take zinc with vitamin A if you are using a zinc supplement. It also helps vitamin A metabolize.

  4. Smoking may increase your need. Vitamin A is an antioxidant and can help protect against the free radical damage caused by smoking.

  5. Avoid using mineral oil laxatives. They destroy vitamin A in the body.

  6. Use antacids only when you really need to. They inhibit vitamin A absorption.

  7. Check whether your prescription drugs inhibit vitamin A absorption. Some drugs do, such as colchicine, used for gout, and several cholesterol medications.

  8. Decrease your alcohol consumption if you are a heavy drinker. Besides its other adverse effects, alcohol will interfere with vitamin A absorption.

  9. Consider using beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is what gives foods such as sweet potatoes and pumpkins their yellow-orange color. It is a precursor to vitamin A, and is not toxic even in very large doses.

  10. Take a beta-carotene complex rather than single carotenoids.

  11. Take other minerals separately, since they can block absorption of carotenoids.

  12. Use a micellized version of vitamin A if you are sick and in need of extra antioxidant protection. Micellized means that the vitamin has gone through a special process that has made it water soluble, so that it is now more quickly absorbed.

Tips & Warnings

  • The richest food sources of vitamin A are liver, fish liver oil, dark green and orange vegetables, and milk products.
  • Absorption of vitamin A may be impaired if you have a disorder that impairs fat absorption, such as pancreatitis, celiac disease or cystic fibrosis. Check with your doctor, because you may have a deficiency.
  • Avoid vitamin A supplements, as well as any cosmetic or skin care item containing retinols, if you are pregnant or trying to conceive - vitamin A can be toxic to the fetus and can cause birth defects.
  • Avoid taking mega doses of vitamin A - more than 50,000 IU per day - unless directed to do so by your doctor. Because vitamin A is stored in fatty tissue, it can build up in your body and cause adverse reactions. The recommended dose is 7,500 to 10,000 IU per day.
  • If you taking prescription medicine, consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking supplements.

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