While it may not make headlines as often as vitamins C or D, vitamin A is just as important for the everyday functioning of many of the body’s different organ systems. Taking dietary supplements that contain this nutrient is one efficient way of getting one’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of the vitamin, as set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
What does vitamin A do? The name itself is a bit misleading, as it actually refers to a a group of closely related compounds namely, retinal and four carotenoids, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).
As the term may suggest, retinal is good for eye health, as it helps the retina absorb light, allowing it to detect low-level light sources and to differentiate between colors.
Carotenoids are similarly good for vision, and also act as antioxidants in the body, helping to prevent oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
These are just a few of the ways that the vitamin A complex helps improve well-being. The ODS notes that this group of nutrients also boosts immunity, assists in cell replication and contributes to bone health.
One of the best natural sources for vitamin A is the carrot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that one-half cup of carrots contains 270 percent of an individual’s RDA of the nutrient. Vitamin supplements can deliver similar levels of retinal and carotenoids.