The Ecology of Humans (46-1) Vitamin A


Vitamin A is fat-soluble group of compounds, bifurcated into carotenoids and retinoids. Carotenoids are the pigments in plant chloroplasts: the organelles that conduct photosynthesis. Retinoids are compounds chemically related to vitamin A. Carotenes come from consuming plants, whereas retinoids are obtained from eating animals. Carotenoids can be converted into vitamin A, so one can obtain adequate vitamin A from a vegan diet.

Vitamin A is important for vision, a healthy immune system, and for epithelia and other cells.

Foods high in vitamin A include dandelion greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli leaves (florets have much less), kale, butter, and liver.

A small glass of carrot juice daily offers a healthsome intake of vitamin A that helps keep the skin and internal epidermal tissues young. You will know if you are drinking a bit too much if your palms and soles of your feet turn an orangish tint – but the effect is harmless.