Vitamin A in Butter: I was recently pissed off when I opened my butter from a company that had all this fancy marketing on the package. I teach my clients how to buy the most nutrient dense foods and to stay away from fancy marketing claims. So, I felt like an extra hypocrite on this day, but I thought, maybe, just maybe, this butter would be better, and I could tell my clients how to get better butter for less money…
Nope, the butter wasn’t better. the deep yellow color that I have seen when I buy KerryGold butter or certified Grass-fed butter was not there. This company, who’s name I will not say, did not have the grass-fed certification, but they made it seem like the cows had access to pastures full of grass to eat.I was pissed because fancy marketing got me again. I was hopeful that this was a farm that did in fact raise their cows on grass but didn’t want to pay for a grass-fed certification. I would gladly support their efforts and their animal husbandry if they were raising healthy cows, like their packaging claimed.
That yellow color in butter and in cow fat comes from carotenoids in the grass and herbs that they eat. These carotenoids (Vitamin A) get stored in their lipids (fat cells). When you see white fat on a steak or whitish butter it is a sign that the cow is not eating a diet that is beneficial for that cow. In order for you to stay healthy, your food source must be healthy as well. It starts and ends with farming practices. Vote with your dollar and support healthy animals.
Vitamin A in Life
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant. It is not just one vitamin, but a whole family of about 1,100 related nutrients. Some of the relatives are vegans (carotenoids found in plant foods) and some of the relatives are carnivores (Retinoids found in animal foods). All of the relatives are FAT! Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin so it is found in the lipids (fat molecules) of the plant or animal.
Fat soluble vitamins can be easily stored in our tissues which means we can go for longer periods without having to get them from our diets, this also means that toxicity is possible.
A Vitamins – What are they good for?
- They support and enhance your immune system and function
- They help form and maintain healthy skin, teeth and body tissues
- They help with vision, specifically, night vision
What Might it Look Like to Have a Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD):
VAD is considered the leading cause of childhood blindness.
- Frequent colds or Viral infections
- Impaired vision
- Night blindness
- Dry and bumpy skin
- Weak tooth enamel
- Dry eyes
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Loss of smell or taste
- Mouth ulcers
- Thrush or cystitis
- Undeveloped bone growth
If you are experiencing 8 or more of these symptoms it may be a sign of severely low vitamin A.
Food Sources of Vitamin A:
- Grass-fed Beef Liver
- Cod liver oil
- Pasture Raised bird Eggs
- Butter from Grass-fed cows
- Raw Dairy from Grass-fed Cows (if tolerated)
- Caratanois (a precursor to Vitamin) found in Red, Yellow and Orange Fruits and Vegetables, and Leafy Greens
Best Supplement Forms:
“Best” means that they are derived from a natural source and not chemically engineered in a lab to “act” like vitamin A.
- Retinyl Palmitate
- Retinyl Acetate
How to Supplement with Vitamin A
- Always take it with a fat to enable absorption
- Adequate Zinc and Protein in the diet help with supplementation
- Recommended daily allowance in micrograms (mcg) is:
- Women 700 mcg,
- Pregnant women 750-770 mcg,
- Lactating women 1,200-1,300mcg,
- Infants 400-500mcg,
- Children 300-600 mcg and lastly,
- Men is 900 mcg.
- There are 2 ways to measure vitamin A Micrograms (mcg) and International Unit (IU). 1 IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 mcg retinol, or of 0.6 mcg beta-carotene.
- Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, so toxicity may occur from taking more than 25,000 IU per day for adults and 14,000 IU per day for children
- Too much Vitamin A may lead to stomach aches, skin discoloration, birth defects in pregnant women, and chronic diarrhea in children.
- It is always a good idea to work with your physician when considering supplementation.
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