Most doctors continue to believe that vitamin A is “dangerous” – even though established research shows your body can’t defend itself without it.Form of vitamin A that they’ve patented as drugs. They’re hoping you’ll trust their drug version instead of natural vitamin A.But this crucial nutrient was never harmful. It’s been the victim of a decades-long smear campaign that warned supplementing could lead to a toxic buildup in your liver and even death. Sure, there’s a possibility of toxicity if you take outrageous doses for an extended period of time. But taking too much of anything can be dangerous, including Tylenol, NSAIDs, and ibuprofen. The assault on vitamin A comes from misleading studies sponsored by drug companies. You see, they have their own synthetic
Meanwhile, most doctors have been convinced by these Big Pharma funded studies, so they tell you to take beta carotene instead.But beta carotene is a highly inefficient way for your body to make vitamin A. Here’s why… Vitamin A isn’t one molecule. It’s a group of compounds called retinoids. Natural retinoids – as opposed to Big Pharma’s synthetic concoctions – are incredibly important for your health. You probably know that vitamin A helps protect your eyes from night blindness and age-related macular degeneration, but it also:
- Lowers your risk of certain cancers, including cervical, lung and bladder cancers
- May help reduce the risk of fractures1
- Maintain healthy endothelial cells (those lining your body’s interior surfaces)
- Reduces the appearance of wrinkles by increasing cell turnover
Retinoids are also critical signaling molecules In your brain. Deficiencies can even be a major factor in the development of Alzheimer’s. And now, new research reveals that vitamin A forms the foundation of your immune system. Let me explain…
Vitamin A, Your Immune System, And Your Gut
Most doctors are completely ignorant of the three-way connection between vitamin A, the microfauna in your gut, and the production of immune system cells that defend your body from harmful bacteria and viruses.Your intestines are home to trillions of microbes — called your gut microbiome. These microbes help you digest food and allow your body to absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. But they also control your body’s immunity to disease. About 80% of your immune system is made of the microbes that live in your gut lining.2 You see, vitamin A is essential to the formation of a healthy mucosal lining in your intestinal tract — which is home to the gut bacteria that make up your immune system.3 When you consume vitamin A, it gets absorbed into your bloodstream through the mucosal lining in your intestine. And it’s in the mucosal lining that trillions of microbes transmit billions of signals about the pathogens entering your body. This signaling is essential to your health.
That’s because vitamin A triggeRs the stimulation of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) — your body’s most common antibody — in the gut. This is your frontline defense against harmful germs. Studies also show that vitamin A helps maintain the healthy mucus layers in your respiratory tract, protecting your lungs from pathogens.4 Because your body can’t produce it, you have to get vitamin A from your diet.
Get The Right Kind Of Vitamin A
Most doctors will tell you to get your vitamin A from the carotenoids in orange vegetables, like carrots, squash, and bell peppers.But this isn’t an effective way to get what you need. For every 6 units of beta-carotene you eat, you only get 1 unit of active vitamin A. So, even if you consumed 25,000 units of beta-carotene, you still won’t get enough for the day. Here’s what I tell my patients:
1. Eat like your ancestors
Unfortunately, our modern diet is starving you of vitamin A. With our industrial, grain-based food supply, most Americans get just a tiny fraction of the vitamin A thEy need. Our primal ancestors got 10 times more than we do. So try to eat like they did…by choosing foods that contain vitamin A in an active form called retinol. Your best choices are grass-fed liver, wild-caught fish, eggs, cheese, and raw milk. Calf liver is nature’s most concentrated source of this vitamin. Just 3 ounces of calf liver delivers more than 15,000 IUs. Cod liver oil is another great source.
2. Then add in the carotenoids
For carotenoids, you don’t have to stick to orange-colored fruits and vegetables. There are quite a few dark leafy greens that give you plenty of carotenoids as well. Kale, turnip greens, chard, and spinach are the best sources.But remember, carotenoids alone are not enough.
3. Take the right supplement
Mainstream medicine says you only need 2,000 to 3,000 IUs of vitamin A every day. The problem is, you can’t just take some lab created “vitamin A” and think you’re getting what you need. It won’t include all the retinoids.I recommend you get at least 10,000 IUs of mixed retinoids every day. When choosing a supplement, avoid synthetically produced retinyl palmitate and other Big Pharma creations. Retinyl palmitate is made from combining an ester of retinol with the main compound from palm oil, and it’s not natural vitamin A.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
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1. Zhang X, et al. “The effect of vitamin a on fracture risk: a meta-analysis of cohort studies.” Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Sep 10;14(9):1043.2. Lozupone CA. “Host-Microbe biology unraveling interactions between the microbiome and the host immune system to decipher mechanisms of disease.” mSystems. 2018 Mar-Apr;3(2): e00183-17. 3. McCullough FS, et al. “The effect of vitamin A on epithelial integrity.” Proc. Nutr. Soc. 1999;58:289-293. 4. McGill J, et al. “Vitamin A deficiency impairs the immune response to intranasal vaccination and RSV infection in neonatal calves.” Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 22;9(1):15157.