By Meredith, Pure Matters
The most common benefit of Vitamin A -- the one I bet you’re already familiar with -- is its positive effects on vision health. Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness, and it’s been used to treat age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma as well as cataracts. Yes, it’s why your parents made you eat your carrots every night at dinner, and yes, it’s why you’ll never catch rabbits munching in your garden … they see you coming from a mile away (and, yes, I made that bit up).
While pegging Vitamin A as the “healthy eyes” nutrient is appropriate, it’s limiting! Here are three other health benefits of Vitamin A.
It can benefit your immunity.
While Vitamin C has rightfully cornered the market on warding off colds and flu, you might want to consider Vitamin A, too. Its immunity benefits come in broader, hard-to-define strokes, but basically: Vitamin A helps in the production of white blood cells (those are the ones that fight off illness), as well as in the health of your mucous membranes -- your nostrils, your mouth, your eyelids. If those areas are healthy and their defenses are able to ward off illness, you’re less likely to catch that cold that’s been getting passed around.
It can benefit your sexual health.
Ladies, if you suffer from difficult periods -- the kind that stick around for more than the usual three to five days and tend toward the heavy side -- it may be due to a Vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A plays a big role in women’s sexual health, particularly during pregnancy, when it’s crucial in the development of an embryo.
And Vitamin A isn’t just important for women -- when it comes to men, Vitamin A is “absolutely essential” to the production of sperm. That’s a key detail if you’re trying to start a family and looking to maximize your manpower. Interestingly enough, scientists suspect that inhibiting a man’s body’s use of Vitamin A eventually hold be the key to a male birth control pill.
It can benefit your skin health.
Because it’s an antioxidant and ultimately helps keep your cells healthy, Vitamin A can help with certain skin issues. It’s a common ingredient in acne medications, particularly those that treat cystic acne.
If you’re past your acne days and more worried about aging, research has shown that topical application of Vitamin A can help reduce the appearance of age spots. Vitamin A is a trendy ingredient in pricey department store skin treatments, such as Laura Mercier’s Mult-Vitamin Serum. (If you’ve ever tried that product, I’d love to hear whether or not it worked in the comments!)
Sold on the benefits of Vitamin A? There are three ways to get it -- through animal sources, like fish and eggs and dairy products, through fruits and veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes, or through a daily Vitamin A supplement.