What is it? Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that supports normal cell growth and development. Vitamin A comes in two main forms. Retinol is a form of vitamin A that's ready for use by our bodies; it comes from animal products like meat and dairy. Carotenoids are plant dyes, beta carotene for example, which our bodies convert into usable vitamin A.

Why do we need it? Vitamin A plays an important role in maintaining healthy vision, strong bones and teeth, and a robust, responsive immune system. Vitamin A is also essential to reproduction. It can protect cells against free radicals.

How much do we need? Talk to your doctor about your vitamin A needs, as certain conditions, as well as your diet and alcohol intake, could affect your needs. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding will also need more vitamin A than usual.

Recommended daily allowance varies by age and gender:

  • 0 to 6 months of age: 400 µg
  • 7 to 12 months of age: 500 µg
  • 1 to 3 years of age: 300 µg
  • 4 to 8 years of age: 400 µg
  • 9 to 13 years of age: 600 µg
  • 14 years and older - males: 900 µg
  • 14 years and older - females: 700 µg

Where is it found? Foods high in vitamin A include:

Fruits and vegetables

  • broccoli
  • cantaloupe
  • carrots
  • pumpkin and other squash
  • spinach and other dark green, leafy vegetables
  • sweet potatoes


  • cheese
  • cream
  • milk

Meat and alternatives

  • cod
  • eggs
  • halibut
  • kidney
  • liver