Sunday, 3 June 2012

Vitamin A – Bending The Rules For Anti-Aging Skin

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Andrew who recently got married yesterday is in search of perfect skin before his Scottish wedding in August (yes for his second wedding)!  So of course he asked me to write about it.

In my quest for picture perfect and youthful skin, I shall explore the individual vitamins and minerals to decipher their crucial role in maintaining fresh, perky and dewy skin.

Today, let’s talk vitamin A.  Vitamin A is one of my favourite fat soluble vitamins.  I am currently researching it at my trust with a more noble purpose.  I haven’t stopped talking vitamin A for over two years and yet, today, I wish to explore it with a slightly different perspective.  A very vain perspective, yes, but somebody’s got to do it!

The antioxidant property of vitamin A is found in carotenoids such as beta carotene.  Antioxidants help by preventing or slowing down oxidative damage to cells.  Oxidative damage is caused by substances called free radicals. 

Antioxidants such as beta carotene are key as they work by counteracting or slowing down the damage caused by free radicals.  Vitamin A therefore certainly has a role in maintaining healthy skin.

This may explain why vitamin A is added to your moisturising cream, or other hair and beauty products but do you ensure that you eat it too?  Have you got the right formula between hydration, a regular skin care routine and nutrition?

Vitamin A deficiency is rare in developed countries but do you know what foods contain it?  Did you know that vitamin A found in animal sources such as liver, dairy products and oily fish are known as retinol?  Retinol itself does not contain oxygen quenching properties. 

It’s the carotenoids such as β-carotene that you are after for antioxidant activity.  This is found in dark green, yellow, orange and red vegetables and fruit.

UK recommended nutrient intake (RNI) of vitamin A for men and women are 700 and 600 µg/day respectively.  This is easily achieved by diet alone and supplements are very rarely required in the UK.  For example, one medium sweet potato, cooked with its skin contains 1096 µg.  Half a cup of tinned pumpkin contains 1007 µg; whilst half a cup of cooked carrots contains your entire recommendation for vitamin A.

Other vitamin A rich sources include spinach, fresh or frozen kale, lettuce, red and green peppers.

If you are wondering about fruit, ¼ cup of dried apricot contains 191 µg of vitamin A.  Don’t forget that most margarines in the UK are also fortified with vitamin A.

As you can see, it really is dead easy to meet your daily requirements for vitamin A, but it’s just as easy to overdo it too.  It’s highly advisable to eat a variety of different sources of vitamin A to also reap the benefits of the diverse range of vitamins and minerals found in the varying fruit and vegetables.

The key message, eat a variety of fruit and vegetables and not the same ones every day. 

So the next time you reach for that costly potion of beauty supplies promising you the benefits of vitamin A, take comfort knowing that your body is doing what it needs to simply by eating your antioxidants from your fruit and veg.  Beauty truly can begin from within.

Ah, I am suddenly experiencing the urge for a bright citrusy orange..  This just might be my one health and beauty compromise for the day.

You will also see this article on Anti-Aging Forum.


  1. Fantastic post really well researched and interesting I can't wait to read more!

    1. Wow thank you so much for your lovely comments!

  2. I'm not sure if you check all the parts of the blog, but in your chat section I have asked a question re Glutathione, any info would be gratefully received as I am a little obsessed at the moment!