Want to lose weight and have superhero night vision?
By Kathleen DiChiara
While you may be aware of the benefits of vitamin A as it pertains to eye health, did you know that it does more than just help you see in the dark?
It may surprise you to know that vitamin A can help reduce inflammation and support the body’s natural repair process, which is why it is known for it’s protection against certain cancers. Vitamin A also plays a vital role in bone growth, reproductive health and your defense against bacteria and viruses in the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract.
Talk about a powerful vitamin!
It’s important to note the difference between plant (beta-carotene) and animal sources (retinol) of vitamin A.
Plants contain beta-carotene, which is actually the precursor to vitamin A, meaning it requires conversion by the body – and those who are vitamin A deficient are usually poor converters. Surprisingly, fewer than 10 percent can actually be made into vitamin A in the body. The best natural sources of carotenoids in fruits and vegetables, include: carrots, spinach, kale, butternut squash, cantaloupe, mangoes, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.
The vitamin A that comes from animal sources is fat-soluble and high doses can be toxic. Out of the four different fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D and K), vitamin A was the first fat-soluble vitamin to be discovered. The richest animal source of retinols is beef liver; just 3 ounces provides over 27,000 IU, which is more than one needs for a whole day! Other sources include: fish liver oils, cream, butter and egg yolk.
The Role of Vitamin A and Thyroid Health
Vitamin A is required for the production of your thyroid hormone (T3). In fact, without it, thyroid levels suffer. Vitamin A deficiency can result in hypothyroidism and because thyroid hormones play a role in the conversion of beta-carotene (from plants) to vitamin A, it is common for people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis to be deficient in vitamin A.
It also has an important role in immunity, which is important for anyone with an autoimmune thyroid condition, such as Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. As well as the rest of the population.
What causes this deficiency?
One of the main reasons for vitamin A deficiency is the dreadful low fat diet. If you are still ordering the egg-white omelet, skim milk or faux butter spread, you are at risk for packing on the pounds. When you avoid whole foods with fat-soluble vitamin A, you are missing this hormone, thyroid and metabolism-stimulating nutrient.
Get your dose of Vitamin A with this tasty juice, great for thyroid health too!
- ½ cup of filtered water
- 2 large carrots, cut into pieces
- 1 handful frozen mango slices (or fresh)*
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
*Optional: Swap mangos for pineapple
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Speaker, and Author
at Rhode to Health
Kathleen DiChiara is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Speaker and Author of the best-selling book "The Hidden Connection." After years of struggling with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, severe degenerative arthritis and a myriad of other ailments, she made it her personal mission to teach others the power of healthy foods.
Kathleen received specialized training in the biomedical approaches and supplemental interventions to autism and other chronic conditions after her son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. She is a professionally trained raw food chef and board certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.
Kathleen resides in Rhode Island, with her husband and three young boys, where she serves as President and Founder of Rhode to Health, Inc.
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