Vitamin A: Retinol or Beta-Carotene
Vitamin A has two dietary forms we can use, Retinol from animal products and beta-carotene from plant products.
Retinol is a fat soluble version and is preformed, meaning we can use it in its natural form and our body does not need to convert it. Beta-carotene is a water-soluble version but requires conversion in the body.
People with diabetes or impaired thyroid function can have difficulty converting beta-carotene to the usable retinol version and should therefore take Vitamin A in it’s retinol form. Alternatively, people with liver issues would fair better with a water-soluble version of this vitamin and opt for beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene also has anti-oxidant properties that go above the primary benefits of Vitamin A, which is why sometimes people opt to take both together. A healthy liver is able to convert 3IU of beta-carotene to 1IU of retinol so units and amounts need to be looked at closely when making vitamin purchases.