Vitamin A

(retinol, retinyl esters)

Vitamin A can be found in the diet but can also be made from what is referred to as provitamin A carotenoids such as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene.  Lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin are also carotenoids but they are not converted to vitamin A.

Dietary Sources for Vitamin A (retinol, retinyl esters):  meat, liver, kidney, butter and eggs.

Dietary Sources for Provitamin A (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene):  sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, red peppers, tomatoes, pumpkin, spinach, collards, cantaloupe, apricots, peaches and broccoli.  (Lightly sautéing or steaming makes them easier to absorb the beta-carotene.

Recommended daily amounts (RDA): *Note dosing can be listed as international units (IU) or as micrograms (mcg) or retinol activity equivalents (RAE) to account for different absorptions rates.

RDA Vitamin A

Men 19yrs and older = 900mcg RAE (equivalent to 3,000 IU)

Women 19yrs and older = 700mcg RAE (equivalent to 2,000 IU)

Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the maximum daily intake unlikely to cause harmful effects on health = 3,000 mcg of Vitamin A (retinol, retinyl esters)

Signs of Deficiency:

            Mild – fatigue, susceptibility to infections and infertility

            Serious – Xerophthalmia (severe dryness of eye which can lead to blindness), Nyctalopia/night blindness, irregular patches on the white of the eyes, dry  skin/hair

Signs of Toxicity:

            Vitamin A (retinol) is a fat-soluble vitamin which means if it is not needed immediately is absorbed and stored in fat tissue or the liver.  Large amounts stored can become toxic.

            Signs:  vision changes such as blurry sight, bone pain, nausea & vomiting, dry skin, sensitivity to bright light like sunlight

RDA Beta-Carotene

            Adults 19yrs or older = 5-15mg/day (8,000-25,000 IU/day) – Natural Forms ONLY (synthetic can be harmful) look for “natural beta-carotene”, “from D. Salina”, “from an algae source” or “from a palm source”.

Drugs that DECREASE levels:

            Acid blocking drugs for heartburn, antacids, cholestyramine resin (Questran), mineral oil, prescription fat blockers (Xenical and Alli), and Olestra (fat substitute found in chips).

What is a supplement?

By definition a supplement is “a substance taken to remedy the deficiencies in a person’s diet.” The definition should be updated to state “a substance taken to remedy the deficiences needed for essential biochemical processes in the body.”

Because it is a replacement for a deficiency, it is not always necessary to take on a daily basis. Vitamin D is a great example. During the summer months when outside a lot, it may not be necessary to supplement but during the winter it may be vital to take a Vitamin D supplement daily. Another great example is folate (Vitamin B9). Folate is found in dark green leafy vegetables. If you find you are getting them in your diet, it is not necessary but when you are unable to eat these it would be appropriate to supplement.

If you believe you have a vitamin/mineral deficiency, it is important to make sure your digestive system is healthy. Most nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine and need a healthy environment to be utilized.

The Gene Optimization Program can assist in navigating your supplements. Sign up for a free consultation for more information!

What is a diagnosis?

By definition it is, “the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.” In other words, it is a formal name given to a specific set of symptoms. At no point is the actual cause of the symptoms explored or identified.

Our current healthcare system relies on this formal identification. Once identification is complete, treatment can be determined. Unfortunately, multiple things can cause similar symptoms but need to be treated differently.

One great example of this is heartburn. Heartburn can be caused by too much OR, more often, too little stomach acid. Once the diagnosis of “gastric esophageal reflux disease” or GERD has been labeled the treatment is to use medications which lower the stomach acid. Has the problem really been fixed? Has other issues been created by not fixing the problem?


My name is Ruby Jarrett and like most of you I have struggled with my weight and health for quite a while and have been unable to get answers from the current health care system. I turned instead to learning more about myself through epigentics to help myself heal.