Why is Vitamin A considered a critical prenatal vitamin? Vitamin A is needed for a variety of critically important areas if a couple wants to conceive and have a healthy baby. Â Here are some of the important functions of Vitamin A:
Fertility, Sex Hormones and Preventing Miscarriage
Vitamin A is necessary for the proper production of sex hormones.Â If your hormones are not balanced, you are much less likely to be fertile and conceive.Â Also, low vitamin A levels puts you at higher risk for having a miscarriage.
Vitamin A is needed for healthy cervical fluid.Â It is important to have abundant fertile sperm-nourishing cervical fluid when you are approaching ovulation.Â Without fertile mucus the sperm cannot stay alive and make it to the egg for fertilization.
Egg Production and Implantation
Vitamin A helps your follicles to develop normally, which is critical to producing a healthy egg.Â This same follicle produces hormones that are critical to the young embryo implanting in the uterine wall.
Vitamin A is necessary for healthy sperm production.Â Abnormal sperm is the most common cause of male fertility problems.
Vitamin A is critical to the growth of your baby.Â It regulates the development of the organs, including the heart, central nervous system, the circulatory system, the kidneys and lungs, and the development of the skull, skeleton and limbs.Â Vitamin A ensures that the exterior of our bodies is symmetrical while the inner organs are arranged asymmetrically.Â After the organs have formed, vitamin A supports their growth.Â If vitamin A is lacking, birth defects are more likely.
Vitamin A is also critical to the immune system of both you and your baby. Â It is very important that you stay healthy while trying to conceive or when you are pregnant.Â Inadequate vitamin A puts your newborn child at higher risk for life-threatening infections.
Now that you understand how important vitamin A is, and how many things it is critical for, how do you make sure you are getting it?Â Vitamin A must be obtained from your diet.Â It is not the same, nor is it safe, to take it as a pill.
Vitamin A is found only in animal products.Â You cannot get vitamin A from a vegan diet.Â It is best if these animal foods come from healthy animals eating their intended diet.Â That means wild fish, grass fed meat and dairy products and chickens eating grass and bugs.Â The nutrient content of a food very much depends on what the animals ate.
What Foods are Highest in Vitamin A?
- Shellfish and fish
- Egg yolks
- Fish eggs
- Liver and organ meats
- Butter and cream
What if you are a vegetarian?Â Do not be fooled.Â Beta carotene is NOT the same as vitamin A.Â Beta carotene can be converted into vitamin A, but this conversion is difficult and actually impossible for some people.Â At best it takes 6 units of beta carotene to make 1 unit of vitamin A.Â Also, vitamin A itself is required to make this conversion.Â Research shows that large amounts of beta-carotene may actually interfere with the activity of vitamin A.Â If you are a vegetarian, you must eat plenty of eggs and dairy products from the best sources you can find.Â It is not recommended to eat a vegan diet when you want to have children.Â This diet does not supply the necessary nutrients to have a healthy child.
Do You Need to be Concerned About Vitamin A Toxicity?Â
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, and too much can actually be toxic.Â This can be avoided by following a few simple guidelines.
1)Â Â Â Â Â Eat a Balance of Fat Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, K2)
Research shows vitamin A toxicity is actually an imbalance in the relative amounts of all of the fat soluble vitamins (others are vitamin D, E and K2).Â Keeping these vitamins in balance is best done by eating a nutrient-rich whole food diet.Â The foods highest in vitamin A also contain the other vitamins and co-factors and naturally deliver them to you in the correct proportions.
2)Â Â Â Â Â Watch Out for Synthetic Vitamin A Supplements
Do not take vitamin A in the form of a synthetic vitamin supplement.Â It is not the same thing as Vitamin A thatâ€™s found in food, and puts you at risk for an imbalance that can lead to toxicity.
If you want a healthy baby, pay careful attention that youâ€™re getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin A by eating a balanced nutrient rich whole food diet.