Vitamin A plays an important role in supporting the immune system, regulating gene function and producing health red blood cells. Most importantly perhaps, it is crucial to the maintenance of good eyesight. Indeed one of the hallmarks of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness.
Night blindness is defined as a reduced ability to see things in low light conditions. This occurs because the nerve impulses in our brain that interpret visual information depend on vitamin A to function properly.
Below are the 10 best vitamin A supplements for 2021.
1. Thorne Research Vitamin A
Vitamin A is often sourced from animal products which makes it difficult for non-meat eaters to obtain enough either in their diet or by way of supplements. Thorne Research vitamin A is drawn from vegetables and augmented by a synthetically produced form of the vitamin. The result is this 25,000 iu supplement that is safe for vegans and completely free of gluten, soy, dairy, shellfish and yeast.
2. Now Foods Vitamin A
Now Foods Vitamin A is gleaned from cod liver oil and refined to a high degree of purity. Each of these softgel capsules contain 25,000 iu of vitamin A which makes it ideal for those seeking to reverse a deficiency. Now Foods Vitamin A contains no gluten, shellfish or dairy and no yeast that may cause allergic reactions. Like all Now Foods supplements this one is produced in their GMP certified facility.
3. Solgar – Dry Vitamin A 5000 IU
Solgar produce some of the finest dietary supplements available today. Their Dry Vitamin A is well tolerated by those who may find oil based supplements objectionable. Each Solgar Dry Vitamin A tablet contains 5,000 iu of vitamin A, an ideal amount for those who are not suffering from an acute deficiency, but who believe they are not getting enough of this essential vitamin in their normal diet.
4. Country Life Dry Vitamin A Tablets
For many people vitamin A must be taken in a ‘dry’ form in order to be absorbed properly. For such individuals Country Life Dry Vitamin A Tablets are the answer. Each one contains 10,000 iu of vitamin A to help fight the scourge of free radicals, improve your vision and maintain healthy blood supply. Country Life Dry Vitamin A Tablets are certified vegan as well as being gluten, soy, sodium and sugar free.
5. Source Naturals Vitamin A
Source Naturals Vitamin A is gleaned from vegetable sources and is guaranteed to be yeast, dairy, gluten and preservative free. Those vegetable sources are augmented by synthetically produced vitamin A to create a supplement of extraordinary purity and effectiveness. Whether you are vegan or simply wish to partake of one of the most effective vitamin A supplements available today you’ll appreciate Source Naturals Vitamin A.
6. Bronson Vitamin A GMO-Free Formula
For those concerned over the inclusion of synthetically produced vitamins in their supplements Bronson provides this high quality GMO-free vitamin A. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism and whether such things actually constitute a health risk is open for debate. But if you believe it’s a potential issue Bronson Vitamin A GMO-Free is here to help. Each softgel capsule contains 10,000 iu of GMO-free vitamin A and is produced in FDA certified labs.
7. Nature’s Way Vitamin A Softgels
Nature’s Way Vitamin A Softgels contain highly purified cod liver oil which is one of the most effective sources of vitamin A. They are sugar, sodium, wheat, dairy and gluten free and contain no preservatives artificial colors or artificial flavors. Nature’s Way produces all their supplements in their GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified lab and are known for their rigorous quality control standards and the efficacy of their products.
8. Natural Nutra Vitamin A
Natural Nutra goes to great lengths to ensure the purity of their product. They produce all their supplements in their GMP lab and use only BPA free bottles as containers. Each bottle is clearly marked with ‘best when used by’ date and the supplements themselves are contained in heat sealed sleeves. Natural Nutra source their vitamin A from cod liver oil, which is easily absorbed by the system, and each capsule is gluten, dairy and yeast free.
9. Bluebonnet Vitamin A
Like most high quality ‘wet’ vitamin A supplements this one from Bluebonnet is gleaned from cod liver oil. Bluebonnet refine their product to an almost obsessive degree so that when ingested it is absorbed by the body as quickly and efficiently as possible. Bluebonnet Vitamin A is completely free of peanuts and tree nuts (which often cause allergic reactions) as well as being dairy, wheat and shellfish free.
10. Vital Nutrients Vitamin A
Vital Nutrients Vitamin A is obtained from cod liver oil and rich in beneficial antioxidants. It is absorbed quickly by the body and sets right to work enabling healthy red blood cells and enhanced nervous system function. At 25,000 iu per capsule this particular supplement is probably best advised for those with a known or suspected vitamin A deficiency. No binders are used and the capsules are free of dairy products, sugar and gluten.
What are the Benefits of Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is known to be important to proper vision with night blindness (1) being a common symptom of a vitamin A deficiency. But vitamin A is also a vitally important antioxidant that plays a front-line role in fighting free radicals, maintaining cardiopulmonary health and preventing renal failure. Vitamin A also enables a healthy immune system (2) by promoting the proliferation of T cells. And it is important for healthy skin, with certain medications containing vitamin A thought to be effective in treating acne and other skin conditions.
Who Should Take Vitamin A?
While Vitamin A supplements aren’t necessarily for everyone there are some folks who should strongly consider taking supplemental vitamin A on a regular basis. These include:
- Seniors – Free radicals work tirelessly to undermine cellular health and this expresses itself in any number of ways as we age. Antioxidants like vitamin A are known to do battle with free radicals (3) and play a major role in helping us maintain healthier skin and more robust organ function as we age. Of course vitamin A also helps slow various degenerative eye conditions that commonly beset the elderly.
- People with compromised immune systems – Vitamin A is known to promote a healthy immune system by, as we said above, promoting the proliferation of T cells. Its antioxidant properties also help it fight off free radicals that can attack the cells in our organs and diminish their effectiveness. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties which facilitate its ability to bolster the immune system.
- Those with IBD – Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a blanket term for a group of vexing conditions that afflict the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome are perhaps the best known of these conditions. Because of its anti-inflammatory capabilities vitamin A is known to aid in mitigating some of the worst aspects of these maladies (4). As a result nutrients are processed by the body more effectively and that helps stave off other potential problems.
- People with acne – Acne has been a thorn in the side of the medical community for centuries. It’s a common condition that seems to defy effective solutions. Pores become clogged, the surface of the skin becomes disfigured and scarification is common. It is believed that vitamin A can help reduce the effects of acne (5), although quantifying any benefit is difficult. After all how can you measure what doesn’t happen?
Are There Any Risks Involved with Taking Vitamin A?
It is almost unheard of for vitamin A supplementation to produce negative side effects. Still, on a theoretical basis it is possible (6) no matter how unlikely. Should a person actually manage to consume toxic levels of vitamin A they may display symptoms that make them think they are suffering from the flu. They’ll feel achy and tired. Perhaps nauseous. Or they may experience swollen joints and an overall sense of stiffness when they first awaken. If a person somehow manages to consume the necessary amounts of vitamin A to trigger these side effects they can easily reverse the situation by simply taking no more vitamin A until the symptoms subside. After that they should consult their doctor before they begin taking vitamin A again.
Are There Any Beneficial Vitamin A Stacks?
A “stack” is when a person takes a combination of supplements in the belief that taking certain ones together enables a more beneficial result from each. It’s a matter of the total being greater than the sum of the individual parts. As far as vitamin A is concerned clinical data on stacking is lean to say the least. It is believed by many, however, that stacking A with vitamins C and E along with the mineral zinc can help reduce the effects of macular degeneration as we age. But while it is likely a good idea to take vitamin A to fight off macular degeneration the jury is still out on whether stacking A with these other vitamins and minerals has any added beneficial effect.
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Vitamin A Supplement?
Finding high-quality supplements isn’t always as easy as it may sound. First of all because everyone wants you to believe they are the best and second because some companies are more willing than others to conceal aspects of their supplement that they know some people might object to, such as fillers, allergens and the like. As such there are a few things that will help you ensure you are purchasing a quality product.
- Select a Reliable Brand – A brand name product, one produced for many years with countless satisfied customers, is a good place to start when searching for reliable supplements. Choosing a company you never heard of just because they offer their product at a huge discount is a huge risk.
- Read the Label – Even vitamin A supplements sold online display labels. If they don’t then don’t buy them. If they do, then read them carefully. Look for ingredients you may have an allergic reaction to like peanuts, or things you try to avoid consuming like artificial colors or flavors. The label is as close as you can come to a test drive for supplements. So take advantage of it.
- Is it Wet or Dry Vitamin A? – Vitamin A is not something everyone can readily absorb. Some people need to take it in dry form in order to obtain the desired benefits while others can take it either as a dry tablet or as an oil based gelcap. Which one are you? If you’re not sure ask your doctor.
- Check the Dosage – If you are simply taking supplemental vitamin A to stave off problems chances are you won’t need more the 5,000 iu (7) per day. If, however, you are taking vitamin A to combat a deficiency you may need to take 25,000 iu per day, or perhaps even more. Consult your doctor before taking any type of supplement in large quantities. It may be unnecessary.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin A is one of the unsung heroes of the vitamin world. Without enough of it we’d have a hard time warding off infections, it would take us longer to recover from the common cold or flu, we might suffer skin problems that defy treatment and, of course, our eyesight might fall victim to a rash of degenerative conditions. Vitamin A intake then is not something that should be overlooked. If you feel your diet may not be supplying you with adequate levels of vitamin A talk to your doctor about whether or not you should start taking vitamin A supplements. It’s not too late to start seeing and feeling better.
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