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Sources of Retinol

Sources of Retinol Sources of Retinol


Retinol is a form of vitamin A that is found exclusively in animal products especially liver, eggs, milk, and butter. In the body, retinol is converted to retinoids -- the active forms of the vitamin. Vitamin A is essential for vision in dim light, for growth and development of the fetus, immune function, and bone formation. It is also used to maintain healthy linings of the body. Deficiency can cause night blindness, which if untreated can progress to total blindness, increased susceptibility to infection, and hardening of the linings of the respiratory tract.


Liver and foods made from liver, such as liver pate, are concentrated sources of retinol. According to "Human Nutrition," 100 g of calf's liver contains about 600 percent of the daily value of the vitamin. Excessive amounts of vitamin A can cause birth defects and, thus, pregnant mothers are advised to avoid consuming liver.


The egg white is mostly protein, while the yolk is made up of protein, fat and cholesterol together with a number of vitamins including retinol and vitamin D. One whole egg contains 6 percent of the daily value for vitamin A while the egg white contains 0 percent. Egg yolks are also a good source of another eye-health promoting nutrient, which is lutein. Lutein is a carotenoid that can help prevent age-related macular degeneration, reports the January 2010 issue of "Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture". This condition can lead to blindness in the elderly.


Milk is an excellent source of protein, calcium, iodine, riboflavin, vitamin D, and retinol. One cup of 2 percent milk contains 10 percent of the daily value for vitamin A. You should choose low-fat varieties of milk as these contain less saturated fat. However, because vitamin A is fat-soluble, these will also contain lower levels of vitamin A.

Butter and Margarine

Butter is made by churning cream or milk. Because it is made from milk, butter is also a good source of vitamin A, and 1 tablespoon contains 8 percent of the daily value of the vitamin. Butter is high in calories, fat and saturated fat and modern margarines are a healthier alternative because they contain less saturated fat. Margarine is also a good source of retinol because of fortification; 1 tablespoon contains 10 percent of the daily value.

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