The first installment in my new series- Vitamin and Mineral Mondays- is here! Join me each week for a look at a new vitamin or mineral and its benefits.
Vitamin A is one of a select group of vitamins and minerals that are known to be powerful antioxidants (this group includes C, E, and the mineral selenium). Antioxidants prevent or reverse damage to cells and DNA caused by nasty little moelcules called “free radicals”. In fact, there’s a famous theory called the “Free Radical Theory of Aging” that holds that free radicals are at the heart of why we age, basically causing “rusting from within”.
But vitamin A is more than just a powerful antioxidant. It also has the power to boost immunity and is a great weapon against infections and colds. At the first sign of “coming down with something”, I recommend a very high dose of vitamin A in mycellized (oil) form mixed with liquid zinc, plus vitamin C and astragalus. (Metagenics makes a mycelized vitamin A that you can find online.) I’ve used this combination myself for decades, and although I can’t prove it scientifically, it sure feels like it helps shorten the duration of anything I happen to “catch”. Not for nothing did vitamin A used to have the reputation as the “infection fighter”.
Vitamin A is one of the few vitamins that have the potential for toxicity, but at ridiculously high and unrealistic doses. (Toxicity has occurred in Arctic explorers who ate polar bear liver, which is extremely high in vitamin A. Not exactly a situation you need to worry about.)
Vitamin A—like vitamins E, K, and the whole family of carotenoids (including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin) are all fat soluble, meaning they are far better absorbed when consumed with some fat. The vitamin is an absolutely essential part of the diet, and deficiencies can cause serious health problems.