Vitamin A and the Vegan Diet (and other supplement questions answered)

Vitamin ARecently someone had read an article on the importance of Vitamin A and he asked me to read it and give my opinion. The article stated that the best sources of Vitamin A were from animal products such as fish and milk. I get questions like this a lot…there’s a news story that someone reads and they feel that if they don’t get this vitamin or that supplement, it could be the end of the world.

Now we all have health issues, yet most times we rely on doctors who might have less knowledge about health then you have. Most doctors, (not all, so don’t send me nasty e-mails) are experts on dealing with sickness. When it comes to dealing with health, be sure to find someone who is an expert in getting well and staying well, not someone who is an expert in just covering up the symptoms.

Vitamin A – How it relates to Vegans

My friend asked for my opinion on the Vitamin A discussion and how it relates to vegans and especially this article he asked me to read. I agree that good sources of Vitamin A are the animal sources listed in the article. This is a very narrow approach to nutrition. A good source of one supplement might have many other adverse effects that must be considered. We cannot look at any biological function in a test tube; we must look at the big picture. The animal sources listed are potentially toxic or are not practical. For example, the article suggests raw milk as one source of Vitamin A. It is illegal to purchase raw milk for human consumption in the state of Georgia. There is also the risk of dangerous pathogens (viruses, germs, bacteria, and/or fungi). Milk, even raw, organic milk, will contain some steroids, chemicals, and hormones that are not compatible with good human health. If you have non-organic milk, you can add antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides to the list of unwanted components. Plus there is the risk from saturated fats, allergic reactions, mucus production, and pus cells in your milk (no more than 750,000 pus and/or red blood cells in about 8 drops of milk according to the FDA regulations). If you would like more information on all dairy products, go to my web site, drjoeesposito.com and click on “articles” or “Dr Joe’s Radio show” and look up the title “Got Milk? I hope not!” and listen or read.

Fish products are always a risk due to heavy metals like mercury and lead, as well as other chemicals the fish have been exposed to such as PVC’s, a known carcinogenic. The more fat a fish has the bigger and older it is, thus the more potential exposure it has had to these and other toxins. If you are going to do fish oil, make sure it is certified by European standards which are much more stringent than US standards. Nordic Naturals is one brand that is pretty good.

Getting your Vitamin A from plant sources is not a bad idea, assuming you have a good diet and a good digestive system. The article states that the plant source of Vitamin A is beta carotene and that it must be converted to the biologically available form in the small intestine. If you have a healthy digestive system, this is an easy task. If you are eating a good diet, which will contain lots of fruits, veggies, certain grains, nuts and seeds, you are getting more than enough beta carotene to convert to Vitamin A. The goal should be to have a good diet and a good digestive system so you can absorb your nutrients. In order to have good health, you must have a normally functioning nervous system, which controls everything else. You must also have a normally functioning digestive system so you can absorb your nutrients and pass out your waste products. The third component you must have is a good diet. It is cheaper and easier to eat well then it is to eat poorly. If anyone would like more information on how to obtain and maintain good health, please feel free to tune in to my live radio show on Sunday evenings from 7PM-9PM on WSB 750AM/95.5FM. All of my radio shows can be found at my page on SoundCloud. Click here to access those radio shows!

The concept that one supplement is going to solve a problem is a very narrow way of looking at things. All nutrients must work in conjunction with other nutrients in order to have the body function properly; nothing works on its own. This is why a healthy lifestyle is what gets the best results, and that includes quality supplements, good diet, a properly functioning digestive system and a properly functioning nervous system.

I could go on for hours, but I think you get the idea.