Origins of Vitamin A
Although Vitamin A was a prominent topic of research in the early 1900s, Vitamin A (or retinol) was first discovered in 1912 by Gowland Hopkins - a man who had previously identified and isolated the amino acid tryptophan. Researchers initially thought that failure of growth in rats was due to proteins in the diet that had undergone a structural change and could no longer carry out their functions.
Vitamin A is a collective group of structurally similar fat-soluble compounds. These are readily destroyed upon exposure to heat, light or air. There are several forms of Vitamin A, two being the most common form available to humans through the diet: retinol and provitamin A carotenoids. Retinol is found in animal sources, such as red meat, cheese, oily fish and eggs, whilst beta-carotene is one example of a provitamin A carotenoid. Beta-carotene is a pigment found in plants, providing yellow and orange fruit and vegetables their colouring. The pigment is converted into Vitamin A in the body and is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables such as spinach, carrots, red peppers and sweet potatoes. Other foods containing beta-carotene include yellow fruit, such as mango, apricots and papaya.
Benefits of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is one of the more commonly known supplements as recent discussions have revolved around the limit for Vitamin A excess where pregnancy is concerned. Vitamin A deficiency is the main reason for blindness in children, a problem that is seen in more than 50% of countries worldwide. Hence, Vitamin A is commonly supplemented for its role in vision.
Other benefits of Vitamin A include maintaining mucous membranes and contributing to the function of the immune system to prevent bad bacteria from entering the system. The vitamin also contributes to normal iron metabolism to prevent fatigue, maintenance of normal skin, and plays a role in cell specialisation - the process where cells develop to perform their specific function.
Our Vitamin A tablets
Although our Vitamin A complex contains retinol, a form of Vitamin A that is normally of animal origin, our Vitamin A complex tablets are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The tablets are a suitable size of 6mm, providing 1,500mcg of vitamin A per tablet. We advise one tablet per day, as advised by Public Health England.
Please note - we recommend that both the 500 and 1,000 tablet options are more suitable for use by more than one person. This is to ensure that you are receiving full use of the product before its expiry date. For one person's use, we recommend the 120 or 240 tablet options.