Most Americans are getting adequate amounts of vitamin A. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that, on average, U.S. men and women get about 6,064 IU and 5,256 IU of vitamin A respectively each day, which is more than twice the RDA.
The Institute of Medicine cautions against daily intakes of retinol above 10,000 IU.
The chart below identifies some common food sources of retinol. Most of the reported cases of vitamin A toxicity have been blamed on the use of supplements. Healthy individuals who eat a balanced diet generally do not need a vitamin A supplement.
Source: NIH Office of Dietary Supplements
|Food Sources of Retinol
||International Units (IU) of Vitamin A|
|Liver, beef, cooked 3 oz||30,325|
|Liver, chicken, cooked, 3 oz||13,920|
|Egg substitute, fortified, 1/4 cup||1,355|
|Fat-free milk, fortified with Vitamin A, 1 cup||500|
|Cheese pizza, 1/8 of a 12 in diameter pie||380|
|Milk, whole, 3.25% fat, 1 cup||305|
|Cheddar cheese, 1 oz||300|
|Whole egg, 1 medium||280|
Plant sources of beta-carotene are not as well absorbed as the animal sources of vitamin A listed in the chart, but they are still an important source of this vitamin. Dark orange and green vegetables and fruit, including carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, cantaloupe, and kale are excellent sources of beta-carotene. Due to concerns about the negative effects of too much retinol, some people prefer to eat more foods rich in beta-carotene to satisfy their need for vitamin A.