R is for Retinol

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Olivia Morgan MS, RDN, LDN

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that is referred to as “preformed” Vitamin A. Another form of vitamin A is provitamin A. Provitamin A is more commonly known as carotenoids, which includes beta-carotene, a compound known for its antioxidant properties. Retinol is more easily used by your body and has many roles including:

  • Vision (especially night time vision!)

  • White blood cell production (Hey there immune system)

  • Cell growth and division

Retinol is used in skin care products due to it’s It is used in pharmacological doses to treat various skin conditions including psoriasis and severe acne. Additionally, it is used in many anti-aging creams due its ability to promote collagen growth (a compound that helps keep your skin looking young!).

Foods containing Retinol include:

  • Fish Oils

  • Meat (especially liver)

  • Milk

  • Eggs

  • Fortified in Cereals & Juices

Foods containing provitamin A carotenoids include many orange and dark green fruits and vegetables:

  • Carrots

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Cantaloupe

  • Butternut Squash

  • Spinach

  • Broccoli

  • Kale

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A is 700 micro-grams. Retinol is one of the compounds that does have an upper limit of safe intake and at very high doses can have harmful health effects (especially for pregnant women). With that being said, to get enough Retinol in your diet, it is best to focus on food sources before turning to supplementation.

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