Which Vitamin A supplements are best?
Vitamin A is an important, basic vitamin. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a significant role in eyesight, brain function and immune function. Though many people consume enough vitamin A in their diet naturally, those who need to supplement it can get lost in the world of unregulated supplements and must look carefully for high-quality vitamin A. High-quality vitamin A will come from natural sources and be clearly labeled with the amounts and ingredients. The top pick for the best vitamin A supplement is the Now Foods 10,000 lU Vitamin A, a high-quality pesticide-free vitamin A sourced from fish oil.
What to know before you buy a Vitamin A supplement
Sources of Vitamin A
The human body doesn’t naturally produce vitamin A, so we must get it from our food. Most people eating balanced, healthy diets will consume enough vitamin A to not require it from supplements. Common natural sources of vitamin A include egg yolks, liver, fish and fish oils, dairy products, dark greens, sweet potatoes and carrots. A diet rich in these foods will naturally get enough vitamin A to not need supplements except in rare circumstances.
Benefits of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is best known for its impact on eye health, skin health and immune system function. Vitamin A deficiencies, which are common in malnutrition cases, can lead to blindness. Individuals may also use vitamin A in supplement form or applied topically for skin conditions. Vitamin A is also used to treat more serious illnesses that impact the immune system and other parts of the body. Talk to your doctor before starting vitamin A supplements, as too-high levels of vitamin A can cause hypervitaminosis.
Types of Vitamin A
You can find Vitamin A in two forms. Retinols are fully formed vitamin A and can generally be found in animal products. Most vitamin A supplements will contain these. Carotenoids are the other form the body can convert into vitamin A. These include alpha and beta carotene and are often found in vegetable sources. Vitamin A in its retinoid form is fat-soluble, so the body doesn’t naturally pass it if you ingest too much. Carotenoids, on the other hand, are more difficult to overdo, though it’s still possible.
What to look for in a quality Vitamin A supplement
Vitamin A can be found in many sources, though most supplements source it from fish oils as it’s the cheapest and most efficient source. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, some supplements source Vitamin A from plant materials, like algae.
Because supplements aren’t heavily regulated, look for supplements from large, trusted brands that list their ingredients and sources on the packaging. Always purchase supplements from retailers that you trust and which verify their brands.
Supplements come in many forms, including tablets, capsules, soft gels, liquids and many more. Tablets are cheap to produce but may not dissolve as readily. Because vitamin A is often sourced from oils, it frequently comes in capsule and liquid form.
How much you can expect to spend on a Vitamin A supplement
Vitamin A supplements are not expensive. Most vitamin A supplements will cost between 4-20 cents per pill, and higher-end supplements are usually multivitamins rather than just vitamin A.
Vitamin A supplement FAQ
How do I know if the supplement I’m buying is of high quality?
A. In the United States, the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements the same way it does other food and drugs, so there’s little federal oversight. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s a complete wild west. Well-known brands are usually a safe bet, as are larger retailers that vet their products carefully. Be careful when shopping on Amazon or other sites that have fake products. When in doubt, talk to your doctor about the supplements you’re taking.
Can I use Vitamin A for skincare?
A. Vitamin A in retinoid form is commonly used for skincare and can help reduce wrinkles, increase collagen production, smooth the skin and reduce pigmentation and spots. However, you’re better off buying a dedicated retinol skincare product rather than opening up a vitamin A capsule that’s not intended for skin use. Retinols are a heavy-duty product and can increase sun sensitivity, among other things, so they’re best used with great care and in small doses.
What are the best Vitamin A supplements to buy?
Top Vitamin A supplement
What you need to know: These high-quality soft gels have an extremely high dose of vitamin A from a trusted brand.
What you’ll love: It’s a trusted, high-rated brand that produces high-quality vitamin A. They’re affordable at 4 cents a pill and use olive oil.
What you should consider: The soft gels tend to stick together. They are not vegan.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Top Vitamin A supplement for the money
What you need to know: This is an affordable, strong dose of vitamin A in soft gel form.
What you’ll love: It’s gluten-free and comes with 100 pills in a bottle. Reviewers said it helped enormously with issues stemming from vitamin A deficiency, like hair loss and skin problems.
What you should consider: These use soybean oil, which can be a common allergen. They aren’t vegan.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Worth checking out
What you need to know: An unusual vitamin A option, BetaCareAll is sourced from carotenoids of plant origin, making it a vegetarian option.
What you’ll love: It uses sustainable palm oil, and the carotenoid source means it’s a little more stable and safer than retinoid sources.
What you should consider: It still uses gelatin capsules, so it’s not vegan, only vegetarian.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Arabella Matthews writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.