Nearly 15% of all Americans suffer from a vitamin A deficiency. (In animal sources it’s called retinol, in plant sources it’s called beta-carotene)
Not only is vitamin A an antioxidant and helps to protect the body from cancer and disease by neutralizing damaging free radicals in the body, it also assists your body in the metabolism of fat, contributes to the function of healthy eyes, hair, teeth, gums, and mucous membranes, and plays a role in immune function and skin health.
It also helps support the reproductive system.
Traditional cultures actually used to give couples (women especially) with certain foods that were thought to increase fertility. Dr. Weston A. Price did multiple studies all over the world and found that in cultures with very fertile women and healthy strong babies, they were fed diets high in fish, organ meats, and butter from grass-fed cows.
All of these are rich sources of easily absorbable vitamin A.
So while these people had no scientific facts to back what they did, they knew it worked.
Vitamin A can help support a woman’s fertility in many ways, most noticeably is that it promotes better cervical fluid. Not only can it help your body to produce more fluid (making it easier to figure out Natural Family Planning) but the fluid itself is more nourishing for the sperm and helps them to live longer, allowing for more time to meet the egg.
Vitamin A also assists the follicles in maturing properly. Both in the maturation of an egg and then in assisting the follicle in producing the hormones needed to aid the fertilized egg into the uterus. So if your body is low on vitamin A, a follicle may not be able to function correctly.
To make sure you are getting enough, be sure to consume a diet with a variety of foods that are high in vitamin A.
The retinol (animal) version is actually easier for your body to absorb while the plant version, beta carotene, is actually considered a provitamin in the aspect that your body must break it down into vitamin A before it can be used.Some studies also show that you’d have to consume six times more beta-carotene than retinol to absorb the same amounts.
If you eat little animal products, seem to be low on cervical fluid and have a hard time charting mucous for natural family planning, or have tried for awhile without success, you may want to think about adding a real food supplement, such as cod liver oil, to your diet along with your normal prenatal supplement.
The recommended daily amount for vitamin A:
- men, ages 19-70, is at least 900 IUs up to 3000 IUs
- women, ages 19-70, we need 700 IUs and up to 3000 IUs per day. (during pregnancy and lactation women require about 50 -100 IUs more per day)
Good sources of animal based vitamin A
- Whole milk
- Cheddar cheese
- Fresh, unprocessed butter from grass-fed cows
- Whole egg
- Liver (liver is one of the highest sources, so sneaking it into meals can be helpful)
Good sources of plant based vitamin A (just remember the absorbing factor, each person will absorb it differently)
- Sweet Potatoes
*Also, there is a warning attached to vitamin A, especially when taken in synthetic form. In excess of 10,000 IU’s a day, the synthetic version of vitamin A has shown to increase the chances of birth defects. Though Dr. Price found that many cultures consumed much more than this through whole foods. So find it in your foods before you turn to supplements!
How do you make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A in your diet?
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