Vital Vitamin A

Today we’re going to just jump right in with the ever-so essential vitamin A. We’ll get to the history, but let’s begin with what vitamin A does:

  • growth and tissue repair
  • protect mucous membranes in the mouth, nose, throat and lungs (which helps with your immune system too)
  • needed for protein digestion, as it initiates secretion of gastric juices
  • builds strong bones and teeth
  • rich blood
  • eyesight of course (scientific name is retinol, see a correlation to retina, which is a part of your eye?)
  • production of RNA
  • healthy immune system
  • deficiency during pregnancy is linked to eye defects, displaced kidneys, harelip, cleft palate and heart abnormalities
  • catalyst for biological process
  • needed for uptake and utilization of water-soluble vitamins (so even though you may have a varied diet of vitamins and minerals, you are not doing any good if it’s not getting absorbed-also check out another fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin K2)
  • protein utilization (it doesn’t do any good to eat all that protein if you are not able to use it)

Wow pretty impressive! So where do we get vitamin A? Here comes the problem, some believe that they can procure it from beta-carotene (associated with yellow fruits and vegetables), the problem is that conditions have to be just right for this conversion (which usually doesn’t happen nowadays) and consumption has to be greater. It is said that 6 units of beta carotene are needed for 1 unit of vitamin A. Some of the problems are: diabetics and people with thyroid conditions (which could be half of the population alone) cannot convert carotene to vitamin A. Children also suck at this conversion and it doesn’t happen for infants either. Other things that can affect conversion:

  • strenuous exercise
  • excessive consumption of alcohol
  • excessive consumption of iron (point your fingers at white flour and those poisonous breakfast cereals)
  • some popular drugs
  • excessive consumption of polyunsaturated fats (think vegetable oils)
  • zinc deficiency
  • lowfat diets (lowfat high-fat diet are detrimental because protein consumption deplete vitamin A and you’re not getting any vitamin A because it is found in fat, hence fat soluble. Eating protein in conjunction with its fat, helps to absorb protein)
  • inappropriate spacing of children (primitive tribes gave 3 years in between children for mothers to restore appropriate levels of vitamin A)
  • even cold weather
  • Celiac Disease
  • Pancreatic Disease
  • Intestinal Roundworms
  • Diarrhea

So the remaining half that were not affected by the thyroid/diabetes dilemma can probably add themselves to list with one of these options. Great so most people aren’t going to be able to convert all those fruits and vegetables into vitamin A, so what is a health seeking individual to do. I’m sorry vegetarians, but animals are the solution. Great sources of true vitamin A:

  • butter
  • egg yolks
  • liver
  • organ meats
  • shellfish
  • cod liver oil

Butterfat does an excellent job of stimulating bile secretion, which is needed to convert carotenes to vitamin A, as well as supplying an easily absorbable form of the true vitamin A. So if I put butter on my vegetables, I’ll be getting true vitamin A, but also am converting the carotene in the vegetables to vitamin A as well? Bingo, wow don’t you just love butter. Why would you want to cook with that shitty rancid vegetable oil, which although it too can stimulate bile, it can cause destruction of the carotene unless antioxidants are present.

  Now I’m a big history buff and vitamin A has a long history, so let’s look at some of the long traditions associated with this important vitamin. As we looked at Sunday with the Weston A. Price, he identified the importance of this vitamin with traditional societies (remember during his studies in the 30’s and 40’s these people’s had 10 times more vitamin A than Americans did then, imagine what this would be today), often sacred foods treasured by these societies; but this vitamin has an even bigger past. Many societies used liver for various types of blindness, as it is a tremendous source of the vitamin. Egyptians over 3500 years ago would first press the liver to the eye and then consume. Hippocrates suggested liver soaked in honey for blindness in malnourished children. Assyrian and Chinese writings from centuries ago tell of using liver to treat night blindness. In the 1800’s Eduard Schwarz used ox and pork liver to restore vision to sailors (night blindness was common for sailors on long voyages). Like most good ideas, he was attacked for his reports that night blindness was a nutritional disease. In 1904 M. Mori, a Japanese physician, used cod liver oil to treat children with xerophthalmia (night blindness that leads to the eye bursting). After WWI, Bloch found that a diet rich in whole milk, butter, eggs and cod liver oil cured night vision blindness and keratomalacia(corneal ulceration, extreme dryness of the eyes and infection). The actual discovery of vitamin A is accredited to E.V. McCollum in 1907, who was curious why cows consuming wheat did not thrive, became blind and gave birth to dead calves. Osborne and Mendel further concluded five months later that cod liver oil produced the same effects as butter. Then you have the Price research, which confirmed the prior research done. More recent research has focused on cancer prevention, although Dr. Max Gerson’s testimony to Congress of treating terminal cancer cases with raw liver juice, producing good results, was basically ignored. So basically we’ve known for centuries of the importance of vitamin A rich foods importance in blindness and eye health and since the 1930’s and beyond of all the other benefits.

Eat animal proteins and its fat, and yummy butter for true vitamin A. For more on our fat-burner weight-loss programs check out our website at

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