Sources of Vitamin A

Vitamin A can be found in two principal forms in foods:

* retinol, the form of vitamin A absorbed when eating animal food sources, is a yellow, fat-soluble substance. Since the pure alcohol form is unstable, the vitamin is found in tissues in a form of retinyl ester. It is also commercially produced and administered as esters such as retinyl acetate or palmitate.

* The carotenes alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, gamma-carotene; and the xanthophyll beta-cryptoxanthin (all of which contain beta-ionone rings), but no other carotenoids, function as vitamin A in herbivores and omnivore animals, which possess the enzyme required to convert these compounds to retinal. Carnivores in general are poor converters of ionine-containg carotenoids, and pure carnivores such as cats and ferets lack beta-carotene 15,15′-monooxygenase and cannot convert any carotenoids to retinal (resulting in none of the carotenoids being forms of vitamin A for these species). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_A

 
 

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