The 5 Best Vitamin A Supplements

When it comes to the best vitamin A supplements, there are several important factors to consider. The main concern is that while vitamin A is absolutely essential for multiple functions in the human body, it can be toxic at sustained higher doses. This is also referred to as hypervitaminosis A.

As you can imagine, it’s important to get a good balance of vitamin A through your diet and/or supplementation. Not too much and not too little.

It’s rarely the case with supplements, but when it comes to vitamin A, you could be putting your health at risk if you’re not careful.

With that being said, why take a vitamin A supplement?

 

Vitamin A Health Benefits

Vitamin A is required by the body for multiple physiological processes. Without it, your organs and immune system wouldn’t be able to function properly.

Not only that, it provides a number of health benefits.

Promotes Healthy Bones

Calcium isn’t the only mineral responsible for bone health.

A 2017 meta-analysis found that people with vitamin A deficiencies had a higher risk of experiencing bone fractures. They also found that those who had higher levels of vitamin A had a 6% lower chance of having one. (1)

Plays an Important Role in Eyesight

Vitamin A is essential for good vision and a lack of it can lead to blindness. That’s because vitamin A is necessary for converting the light that comes through your eyes into an electrical signal in your brain.

A more mild form of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness. This is because vitamin A makes up part of the pigment rhodopsin, which is very light sensitive and is not present when there’s a vitamin A deficiency.

Fights Against Acne

Some studies suggest that vitamin A deficiency can contribute to acne. The reason being is that it can result in an overproduction of the protein keratin, which may lead to blockages in hair follicles. (2) (3)

Is Important During Pregnancy

Vitamin A plays a role in both the mother’s and baby’s development during pregnancy.

It’s essential for a mother’s reproductive system.

It also is involved in the development of a baby’s nervous system, skeleton, and organs.

On the other hand, it can be harmful to babies to get too much of it as well, so it’s important to find a healthy balance.

Supports The Immune System

Vitamin A helps keep infections out of the body. It’s involved in the formation of white blood cells, so vitamin A helps fight against infection and also reducing the amount of time you’re sick if you do get an infection.

Could Lower Your Risk of Cancer

Research has found that getting adequate amounts of vitamin A could help avoid getting cancer, especially vitamin A from plant sources. (4)

 

What to Look For in a Vitamin A Supplement

As was mentioned earlier in the article, too much vitamin A can be toxic, so it’s important to not take too much and choose the right, safe type.

What that ultimately means is to buy vitamin A supplements that meet these requirements:

  1. It comes in beta-carotene form, which is a precursor to vitamin A. It’s not toxic because the body converts it to vitamin A, but only converts as much as it needs. It’s derived from plant sources rather than animal ones.
  2. Is less than 15,000 IU.

Now that you have a better idea of what makes a good vitamin A supplement, here are our picks for the best vitamin A supplements.

#1: Solgar Dry Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) 10,000 IU Tablets

Image of a bottle of Solgar Dry Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A) 10,000 IU

Solgar’s Dry Beta Carotene 10,000 IU Tablets take the number one spot on our list of the best vitamin A supplements.

There are several things that Solgar has done with this beta-carotene/vitamin A supplement that makes it so good.

First of all, this vitamin A supplement comes in the form of beta-carotene, the safest form of vitamin A. At 10,000 IU, it’s under the highest level we’d recommend taking of 15,000 IU.

10,000 IU is 200% of the recommended daily value, but your body will just convert what it needs of the beta-carotene into vitamin A.

This product also contains a 114 mcg carotenoid mix of alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin, which is good for vision.

This supplement is vegetarian-friendly and is free of sugar, salt, and starch.

Pros:

  • Uses beta-carotene
  • Has a good dosage size
  • Contains a carotenoid mix that’s also good for vision in addition to the vitamin A
  • Vegetarian-friendly

Cons:

  • Contains some ingredients we think are unnecessary
  • Expensive

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#2: Jarrow Formulas CarotenALL Mixed Carotenoids Complex

Image of a bottle of Jarrow Formulas CarotenAll Mixed Carotenoids Complex

Taking our number 2 spot is Jarrow Formulas’ CarotenAll Mixed Carotenoids Complex. This supplement goes a bit beyond your standard vitamin A supplement.

It does contain 1,200 mcg of vitamin A in beta-carotene form, which is 40% of the daily value. That may sound like a small amount of vitamin A, but in reality, the vast majority of people are going to get the other 60% of the daily value through regular diet.

In addition, it has lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, astaxanthin, alpha-carotene, and gamma tocopherol. These are carotenoids that have a variety of health benefits.

A bottle of this product contains 60 soft gels for a two-month supply.

Jarrow Fomulas formulated this product to address cardiovascular, vision, and heart health.

The ingredients were extracted from fruit and it’s vegetarian-friendly. Many consumers note how this product improved their vision.

Pros:

  • Comes in beta-carotene form
  • Has 1,200 mcg of vitamin A, which allows you to get the rest through your diet and not overdosing on the vitamin
  • Has a mix of carotenoids that promote eye health and other types of health

Cons: 

  • Contains additional ingredients that you may not be interested in if you just want a vitamin A supplement

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#3: Swanson Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A)

Image of a bottle of Swanson Beta Carotene (Vitamin A)

If you’re looking for simple and affordable, this vitamin A supplement from Swanson fits the bill nicely.

This supplement is as straightforward as it gets: the active ingredient is simply 10,000 IU of vitamin A in beta-carotene form. Coupled with a reasonable price, this product is going to be a respectable choice if you’re looking for looking for just vitamin A and don’t have any interest in additional active ingredients being included.

This product does, however, contain some non-active ingredients, which include: gelatin, soy lecithin, glycerin, yellow beeswax, and soybean oil. If you’re strictly vegetarian/vegan, this product won’t be suitable for you because of the animal-based gelatin soft gel. This product also might not be an option for you if you have a soy allergy.

We’d rather not see some of these additional ingredients, but they are not uncommon in the manufacturing process and are essentially harmless, although we’d prefer this product to be even more simplified and encapsulated in a vegetarian capsule.

Pros:

  • Contains the beta-carotene form of vitamin A
  • Nice, balanced dosage size
  • Simple formulation

Cons:

  • Not vegetarian or soy friendly
  • Includes several ingredients that don’t add to the supplement’s value

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#4: Solaray Food Carotene All Natural 10,000 IU Softgels (Vitamin A)

Image of a Bottle of Solaray Food Carotene All Natural 10,000 IU Softgels (Vitamin A)

Yet another very good vitamin A option, Solaray’s Food Carotene All Natural 10,000 IU Softgels provide a plant-based vitamin A supplement in the form of beta-carotene derived from Dunaliella salina, a type of algae. It also has a carotenoid complex made up of annatto oil, carrot concentrate, lemon grass, spirulina, and yam.

These carotenoid complexes have various health benefits. Some of the more notable and proven ones include: maintaining skin health and protecting it from damage (5), eye/vision health (6), immune support (7), and lowering inflammation, among others. (8)

This product provides a nice range of antioxidants.

Pros:

  • Provides vitamin A through plant-based beta-carotene
  • Has health benefits in addition to beta-carotene with its carotenoid blend

Cons:

  • Comes in a soft gel, which may be hard on your stomach
  • Contains soy and some unnecessary ingredients

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#5: Pure Encapsulations – Beta Carotene with Mixed Carotenoids – Hypoallergenic Antioxidant and Vitamin A Precursor Supplement – 180 Softgel Capsules

Image of a bottle of Pure Encapsulations Beta Carotene (Vitamin A)

Last but not least on our list of best vitamin A supplements, we have Pure Encapsulations’ Beta Carotene with Mixed Carotenoids – Hypoallergenic Antioxidant and Vitamin A Precursor Supplement.

This product contains 7,500 mcg of vitamin A as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, and D. salina. There’s a lot of Pure Encapsulations products that we approve of, so we’ve definitely come to respect the company but unfortunately, with this supplement, they don’t do a very good job of labeling how much each type of vitamin A is included. They just lumped them all together to get to the 7,500 mcg number.

Other than that, this product is pretty straightforward. It comes in soft gels and one bottle contains 180.

Pros:

  • Contains a nice mixture of carotenoids that are good for your eyes/vision and other health

Cons:

  • Uses a gelatin capsule, so it’s not suitable for vegans
  • Price (as of the publishing date) is far too high

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Conclusion

The supplement industry is a crowded space, so there’s a lot of competition out there in regards to vitamin A supplements, so hats off to Solgar and their Dry Beta Carotene (Vitamin A) 10,000 IU supplement. We know they’re not the biggest brand in the industry, but sometimes that works in a brand’s and consumers’ favor, as they have to do what they can to stand out, and sometimes that means providing the best supplement for the money.

There are plenty of other great vitamin A products out there on the market, so if you do choose a product outside our list we just recommend choosing a) vitamin A supplements in the form of beta-carotene, and b) limiting your intake to under 15,000 IU.

That’ll wrap it up for our best vitamin A supplements list. We’d like to hear from you: do you have any experience with the products here? Let us know in the comments section.

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