What Should You And What You Shouldn't Take Vitamin A With?
I sincerely think an average person should take a multivitamin formula in order to maintain overall health and to prevent micronutrient deficiency. However, there are many cases when someone needs to take more vitamins (or minerals) than the average person because of a deficiency or a special condition.
When this happens, your doctor will tell you to increase your vitamin A and D intake for instance. In this case, it is extremely important to support the utilization and absorption of that micronutrient as much as humanly possible.
Choosing just a multivitamin won’t necessarily do the trick here, because:
certain vitamins and minerals compete against each other for better absorption just like sperm cells for fertilization.
In other words, you could take two or more vitamins together, but maybe only one or two will be utilized by your body. We’ve known for a long time that you are not what you eat, you are what your body absorbs and utilizes from your food. Just think about what happens to a lactose intolerant person when he/she drinks 3 dl of milk.
Okay, okay. I will stop bringing up the disgusting examples, and at the same, I will announce that we will start releasing a series of articles on Builder: we will examine every vitamin and mineral from A-Z in alphabetical order to find out what vitamins and minerals should, and should NOT be taken together.
So let’s dive into it! First, vitamin A will be in our crosshair.
Vitamin A: basic knowledge
If your doctor said your body lacks vitamin A, because, for example, you suffer from night blindness, then the very first thing you should know is that this is a fat-soluble vitamin so you must take it with a meal.
You can overdose fat-soluble vitamins because the body can store them for longer periods of time, so never exceed the recommended daily values.
Which should you take vitamin A with?
I mean, aside from foods that contain fat. The number one thing: vitamin E (not in a mega dose but 30-40 NE) increases the absorption of vitamin A1, but we have to mention that vitamin E taken in overly high amounts can decrease it.
Yes, when trying to find out what to take together, you also have to take amounts into consideration. You will see this when we examine calcium and magnesium (spoiler: you must not take them together in certain amounts but you should take them together using the right amounts).
Additional synergist vitamins and minerals to vitamin A (in prioritization): zinc, iron, selenium, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, calcium, K, magnesium, manganese, P, phosphorus and potassium.
Vitamin A in nature
Natural sources of vitamin A (in decreasing order, so the first food contains the most), including but not limited to:
- animal liver
- sweet potato
- cod liver oil
- sea fish (king mackerel> salmon> tuna)
- dairy products (goat cheese> butter> milk> cheddar, etc.)
It’s worth noting here that Beta-carotene found in many plants is quickly converted into vitamin A inside the body. Increasing one’s protein intake (1,6-2 grams of protein per kg if you do sports) also important for vitamin A to reach to the bloodstream from the lover (yes, this is a typo, I meant to write liver, but I’ll just leave it like that so you can smile).
What you should NOT take vitamin A with?
We're lucky here. Vitamin A doesn't have a lot of interactions. As I mentioned before, if you take vitamin E mega dose, then do not take vitamin A at the same time with it.
Although I wrote that vitamin B family can increase the effects of vitamin A, a study2 has found that if your vitamin A intake is low, they can further lower your vitamin A stores.
Further antagonist vitamins and minerals to vitamin A:
- vitamin D
Just a note here: generally speaking, every fat-soluble vitamin competes with eachother for absorption in the body, but out of every vitamin, probably vitamin A is affected the least by other substances.
Last but not least, since the body can store fat-soluble vitamins for a longer period of time, do not take vitamin A in high doses (60mg is considered that) daily. Interestingly, you cannot overdose beta-carotene. If you do smoke (I hope you are not), do NOT take beta-carotene, only take it from natural sources.
Vitamin A is a vitamin that you can take from food pretty easily, unless, of course, you only eat chicken and rice. If you do, it is advised to take vitamin A in a pill form, either separately or in a multivitamin formula.
You can read more about vitamin A in our Encyclopedia.
1: Fat-soluble vitamin intestinal absorption: absorption sites in the intestine and interactions for absorption.
2: The Nutritional Relationships of Vitamin A David L. Watts, Ph.D., F.A.C.E.P.
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