I have written about the benefits of vitamin A in prior blogs. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient that plays a vital role in a healthy body. It exists naturally in foods but can also be consumed through supplements. There are two forms of vitamin A – retinol/retinyl esters and carotenoids. The first type of vitamin A – retinol/retinyl esters – occurs in animal products such as dairy, liver and fish. The second type – carotenoids – are abundant in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables and oils. To use them, your body must convert both forms of vitamin A into retinal and retinoic acid, the active forms of the vitamin. Because vitamin A is fat soluble, it is stored in body tissue for later use. If you’re taking a supplement, make sure you don’t overdo it because vitamin A builds in the body and can be toxic.
A new study has shown that cold temperatures increase vitamin A levels in humans. This increase helps to convert bad white adipose tissue into good brown dispose tissue which stimulates fat burning and heat generation. White adipose tissue is the predominant type of tissue in adults and is located in the layer of fat under the skin. This fat transformation is accompanied by enhanced energy consumption.
To be clear, we all have white and brown adipose tissue. With obesity, there are excess calories that are mainly stored in white fat. In contrast, brown fat burns energy and generates more heat. More than 90% of the body fat in humans are white which are located in the abdomen, glutes and upper thighs. This study is exciting because it could lead to a new way to combat weight gain and obesity.
The researchers did caution that this study does not present an argument for consuming large amounts of vitamin A. Vitamin A has to be transported to the right cells at the right time. Therefore, it is important to eat a balanced diet with sufficient vitamin A and let your body do the work. But, it’s important to ensure that you get enough vitamin A because many of us are deficient in it. Vitamin A is also good for eye health, maintaining healthy tissues such as your skin, intestines, lungs, bladder and your inner ear. In addition, vitamin A supports healthy skin cells, and male and female reproduction.