Vitamin A Food Sources

Vitamin A is found in several food sources and adequate amounts are generally provided by a healthy, balanced diet with no need for extra supplementation. Vitamin A is available in both animal and plant foods, as well as in the form of artificial supplements.

Some of the food sources of Vitamin A are described below:

Animal sources

The form of vitamin A absorbed when animal sources are consumed is retinyl palmitate, which gets converted into an alcohol called retinol. Retinol acts as a storage form of vitamin A, which can be converted to and from retinal, the active aldehyde form of the molecule. A particularly rich animal sources of Vitamin A is liver, and consuming liver more than once a week may even cause vitamin A levels to rise too high. High levels of Vitamin A intake can be toxic and lead to a condition called hypervitaminosis A. This is a condition seen in some Eskimos due to consumption of very high amounts of Vitamin A from polar bear liver.

Other examples of animal foods that are rich in vitamin A include:

  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Spreads that have been fortified with vitamin A

Plant sources

Plant sources of Vitamin A include orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. The orange/yellow pigment occurs due to the presence of provitamin A carotenoids such as beta-carotene. These compounds need to be converted into vitamin A or retinol in the body before they can be used. Examples of plant sources that contain vitamin A are given below:

  • Carrots
  • Pumpkins
  • Papaya
  • Mangoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Kale
  • Spinach and broccoli
  • Collard greens
  • Cantaloupe melon
  • Apricots
  • Peas

The daily amount of vitamin A required by adults is 0.7 mg for men and 0.6 mg for women. Any vitamin A that is not required immediately is stored for future use in bodily functions, meaning vitamin A deficiency is rare in individuals who maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 27, 2019

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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