As a model it is important to have a good skin. There are certain nutrients that are extra beneficial for your skin, among which vitamin A. In this article I am giving you a full update on vitamin A, its sources, what it does exactly and what you should be careful about when it comes to incorporating vitamin A.
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… doesn’t excist. There is no secret to a great body and skin. If you want to achieve a great body and skin, all I can recommend is to eat your veggies, drink a decent amount of water, be active daily, sleep at least 8 hours a night, avoid stress and love.
In my “Healthy & Beautiful Skin” series I zoom in on nutrients that particularly benefit your skin. In part 1 of this series I wrote about vitamin C. You can read it here.
Nutrients for great skin
Other nutrients that are important for healthy skin that I’m going to treat in my series are:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Lactic acid bacteria
Today I zoom in on vitamin A.
Vitamin A: what is it?
Vitamin A (also known as retinol) is an essential micronutrient. ‘Essential’ means that our bodies can’t do without vitamin A. “Micronutrient” is the name for nutrients that the body needs in small amounts. This includes vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
Vitamin A is fat-soluble, which means that when you take a vitamin A supplement or incorporate vitamin A through food, you can best combine this with fat.
The body makes vitamin A under the influence of beta-carotene from external sources (in the next few weeks I will tell you more about beta-carotene). In addition, our body gets vitamin A from food sources that contain vitamin A. As such, our body needs external sources for vitamin A.
What does it do?
Vitamin A is involved in the build-up of capillaries. Therefore, the vitamin is important for every cell of our body, from construction to recovery. Thus, vitamin A is important for restoring skin damaged by sunburn or wounds, preventing premature skin aging and the overall condition of your skin. For this reason, vitamin A is a vitamin that prescribed to people with acne in high concentrations, but this cure comes with quite some health risks. More on this later in this article.
Vitamin A can be found in high concentrations in the following foods:
1. Margarine (508 IU per eetlepel)
2. Egg yolk (245 IU per egg yolk)
3. Liver (3000 IU per 100 gram)
4. Cheese (265 IU per slice)
5. Whole milk (395 IU per cup)
6. Buttery fish (2,142 IU in 3 oz tuna)
How much do you need?
This differs by age, gender and situation. Women from the age of 19 are adviced to incorporate 700 micrograms (2,333 IU) of vitamin A per day. Pregnant women need more vitamin A because of their bun in the oven that needs to be ‘built’: 770 micrograms per day is adequate and breastfeeding women need 1300 micrograms per day (source).
The upper limit for vitamin A is set to 3000 micrograms (source). This is roughly equivalent to 3.5 slices of bread with liver pate. Hence that liver has most vitamin A of all foods; this makes it hard to exceed the daily maximum of 3000 micrograms. It ìs possible though, so be especially careful with liver: a piece of liver of only 27 grams contains the maximum of 3000 micrograms.
To stay in the safe zone when it comes to vitamin A, prefer to take a beta-carotene supplement, as beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body and conversion of beta-carotene stops when the body has had enough vitamin A.
What are the risks?
As I already wrote, there are risks associated with vitamin A. Pregnant women better not eat liver, as a large dose of vitamin A can cause miscarriage and birth defects. Furthermore, an overdose of vitamin A is associated with risks of infirtility. This is also a dilemma that often plays in people who have the option to follow oral vitamin A therapy to get rid of acne.
Vitamin A is furthermore easily absorped, but less easy excreted. As a result, there is a risk of accumulation of the vitamins in the body, intoxicating the body.
Vitamin A is an essential micronutrient that is involved in the most fundamental processes in our body. It allows for building tissue and is a helpful nutrient for beautiful skin.
A woman of 19-65 years old needs 700 micrograms (2,333 IU) of vitamin A per day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need a bit more (source), but must be careful not to overdose vitamin A, as this can cause birth defects and miscarriage. The overall limit is 3000 micrograms of preformed vitamin A a day. This equates to 3.5 sandwich of liver pate or 27 grams of liver.
Vitamin A is largely present in margarine, egg yolks, cheese, buttery fish and milk. You can also supplement vitamin A, but to prevent overdose it is best to use a multivitamin that contains beta-carotene (the precusor of vitamin A). This multivitamin contains about 1600 IU (33% of the daily recommended dose for adults) per capsule.
I hope this article was informative to you. If you have any questions or if I have not been clear enough on certain points, please let me know in the comments below.