Vitamin A is found in two primary forms: active Vitamin A and beta carotene. Active Vitamin A comes from animal-derived foods and is called retinol. This “pre-formed” Vitamin A can be used directly by the body; it does not need to first convert the Vitamin.
The other type of Vitamin A, which is obtained from colorful fruits and vegetables, is in the form of “pro Vitamin A” carotenoids, which are converted to retinol by the body after the food is ingested. Beta carotene, a type of carotenoid which is found primarily in plants, needs to first be converted to active Vitamin A in order to be utilized by the body.
Studies have repeatedly shown that antioxidants like Vitamin A are vital to good health and longevity; they benefit eye health, boost immunity, and foster cell growth. Nutrition experts and physicians recommend obtaining antioxidants like Vitamin A primarily by eating a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods whenever possible, rather than from supplements.