Evidence-Based Nutrient Recommendations

Vitamin A Updated

The absorption section of our Vitamin A article has been updated with information addressing a genetic predisposition for being a “low responder” for obtaining vitamin A through beta-carotene.

Vegans get most or all of their vitamin A from plant foods that contain provitamin A carotenoids that our bodies convert to vitamin A. The most active of these carotenoids is beta-carotene.

There are many factors, including genetics, that influence carotenoid conversion to vitamin A, and some people don’t absorb or convert carotenoids to vitamin A very well.

Based on current scientific knowledge, we continue to recommend meeting the DRI for vitamin A with carotenoid-rich foods: carrots, sweet potatoes, and bright orange winter squashes, and leafy green vegetables.

If you have concerns about your own ability to convert carotenoids into vitamin A, taking a vegan supplement providing a small amount of preformed vitamin A in the form of retinol is another option. You shouldn’t take more than 3,000 mcg RAE (10,000 IU) of retinol daily.

More details can be found in the Vitamin A article.

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  • If you have a question about whether it's okay to cut supplements in half or combine supplements to achieve the dose we recommend, the answer is “Yes.” Be aware that nutrient recommendations are only estimates—it's not necessary to consume the exact amount we recommend every single day.
  • We aren't able to respond to questions about which brands of supplements to take.
  • We cannot provide personal nutrition advice for specific health conditions. If you need private counseling, here's a list of plant-based dietitians and we especially recommend VeganHealth contributor Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN.
  • We urge you to consult with a qualified health professional for answers to your personal questions.