Vitamin A is also known as retinol and has several important functions.
Good sources of vitamin A include:
Liver is a particularly rich source of vitamin A, although this means you may be at risk of having too much vitamin A if you eat liver more than once a week (see below).
You can also contribute to your vitamin A intake by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet, as this can be converted into vitamin A by the body. The main food sources of beta-carotene are:
The amount of vitamin A adults need is:
You should be able to get all the vitamin A you need from your daily diet.
Any vitamin A your body doesn't need immediately is stored for future use. This means you don't need it every day.
According to some research, having more than an average of 1.5mg a day of vitamin A over many years may affect your bones, making them more likely to fracture when you are older.
This is particularly important for older people, especially women, who are already at risk of osteoporosis. This is where your bone density reduces and you have a higher risk of fractures.
If you eat liver or liver pâté more than once a week, you may be getting too much vitamin A.
If you don't get enough vitamin D, you could be more at risk of the harmful effects of too much vitamin A. People who may be particularly at risk of not having enough vitamin D include:
Many multivitamins contain vitamin A. Other supplements, such as fish liver oil, are also high in vitamin A. If you take supplements containing vitamin A, make sure your daily intake of vitamin A from food and supplements does not exceed 1.5mg. If you eat liver every week, don't take supplements that contain vitamin A.
Having large amounts of vitamin A can harm your unborn baby. Therefore, if you are pregnant or thinking about having a baby, do not eat liver or liver products, such as pâté, because these are very high in vitamin A.
Also, do not take supplements that contain vitamin A. Ask your GP or midwife if you would like more information.
You should be able to get all the vitamin A you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take a supplement that contains vitamin A, don't take too much, because this could be harmful.
Liver is a very rich source of vitamin A. Do not eat liver or liver products, such as pâté, more than once a week. You should also be aware of how much vitamin A there is in any supplements you take.
If you are pregnant or thinking of having a baby:
Women who have been through the menopause and older men, who are more at risk of osteoporosis, should avoid having more than 1.5mg of vitamin A a day from food and supplements. This means:
Having an average of 1.5mg a day or less of vitamin A from diet and supplements combined is unlikely to cause any harm.
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