This is the first of many posts I'm going to write on vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other less known Holistic herbs, and tools that are consumed - I will not be talking about the effects these items have when applied to skin such as vitamin enriched products and lotions only orally consumable items. I'll do one at a time here and there as I feel like it, so everyone can remember them and absorb the material - myself included. It is important to note that Taking Vitamin A alone in any other form including the form of Beta Carotene has shown to increase Lung Cancer among smokers in a couple of Double Blind Cross Over Placebo trials (They used synthetic Beta Carotene & Vitamin A). This isn't surprising at all because it is quite important to note that it isn't anyone individiual antioxidant or vitamin that works alone to prevent cancer or disease usually. The other problem is the vitamins people tend to take, and the beta carotene being used in these studies as well as in a lot of vitamins is "Snythetic". It is not "natural" - such as the beta carotene found in fruits and vegetables. Many companies try to find the cheapest way to bring you their product, and creating the antioxidant or vitamin synthetically is obviously a dangerous thing to be doing as these studies are showing. When you eat fruits and vegetables you are getting "synergistic" effects from Beta Carotene and other phytonutrients which are still unknown to the medical and scientific community and this could be another reason the studies are failing - in fact I'd bet my life on it. Things must be "balanced" so that your body can be "balanced" - else you risk disease. I have long felt that vitamin supplements from unnatural sources (Not fresh organic foods) for the everyday healthy man or woman was not appropriate. It isn't the same as eating fresh organic fruit and vegetables and yet vitamin supplements are booming using synthetic inorganic sources. Important Note: If you are a smoker - beware of Vitamin A, and Betacarotene supplements which are synthetic - eat your fruits and vegetables, don't take "inorganic pill supplements containing Vitamin A or beta carotene" and assume you'll be ok - these scientific trials are not the only trials to show increased cancer risk of the lungs using unnatural vitamin A. Those who don't smoke would also do well to avoid unnatural Vitamin A. Vitamin A (Beta Carotene) (Fat-soluble) Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA): 5,000 I.U. Researched Range: 2,000 I.U. to 20,000 I.U. Average Daily Intake: Unavailable Important Notes: Vitamin A toxicity may occur in adults who take in excess of 50,000 I.U. per day for several months. The Vitamin A found in fresh foods is not the same as the kind you'll find in nearly all supplements - [Beta Carotene] is a precursor, which is safe to take from fruits and vegetables, but this too can be created snythetically for use in Vitamins, however actual Vitamin A in supplement form as with most vitamins can be toxic in large amounts and can actually increase Cancer, where as Natural Beta Carotene, and vitamins in fresh fruits, and vegetables are not found to have any toxicity. The same does not hold true for eating meat of animals with Vitamin A - the liver and byproducts of animals CAN cause toxicity if too much of certain parts are eaten, for example Liver where Vitamin A is stored in nearly all animals when eaten. Only in Beta Carotene form (Fruits And Veggies, not Synthetic Supplements) is Vitamin A safe at all doses. The only known side effect of Beta Carotene is an orange skin tone which is not harmful. I myself actually have this orange tone from all the fresh fruit and vegetable I eat, and juice in drink form. My doctor took one look and said "wow" you weren't kidding when you said you eat well. Vitamin A was discovered in 1933. Vitamin A when consumed is released through the intestinal wall, the hepatic portal vein takes the nutrients to the liver for processing. Vitamin A is stored in the liver until it's needed and sent via the bloodstream to whichever of the body's cells need it. Vitamin A provides your first line of defense against invading toxins since it establishes healthy skin, skin elasticity, and cell growth as well as support of the mucous membranes. Vitamin A is part of the powerful antioxidant group of nutrients. Vitamin A is also known as retinol because it generates the pigments in the retina. Beta-carotene and vitamin A actually destroy carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). If you're suffering from any of the ailments listed in the defiency list or under the therapeutic values list then consider lack of Vegetable or Fruit as the possible cause - of course seek professional opinion from a holistic physical or allopathic doctor. Everyone should be consuming Vegetables and Fruits in some form if possible (Each day different colors in the Rainbow of fruits and veggies should be consumed in some form - red, yellow, green, purple, black etc). I personally use my Champion Juicer quite a bit, as well as snack and apples, peaches, nectarines, apriocts, red grapes, and other fruits and vegetables. A salad with some chicken, or other whole grains is good too. Deficiency Symptoms allergies appetite loss soft tooth enamel skin blemishes dry hair rough dry skin itching/burning eyes night blindness loss of smell sinus trouble fatigue susceptibility to infections Therapeutic Uses: acne heart disease diabetes allergies arthritis asthma hyperthyroidism recurring infection athletes foot sinusitis tooth and gum disease cystitis bronchitis colds psoriasis peptitis migraine headaches vision deterioration Benefits: Prevents night blindness by building visual purple production. Also prevents other eye problems, some skin disorders, enhances immunity, may heal gastrointestinal ulcers, protects against pollution and cancer formation. Beta Carotene is needed for maintenance and repair of epithelial tissue in the digestive tract, mouth, etc. Beta Carotene (vitamin A) is important in the formation of bones and teeth, aids in fat storage, protects against colds, influenza, and infections of the kidneys, bladder, lungs, and mucous membranes, slows aging process. Sources of Vitamin A: Vitamin A is found in milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, cod and halibut fish, fish liver, fish liver oil, All of these sources, except for skim milk that has been fortified with vitamin A, are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Sources of Beta Carotene (Precursor to Vitamin A) Green and yellow fruits and vegetables, apricots, asparagus, beet greens, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, collards, dandelion greens, dulse, garlic, kale, mustard greens, papayas, peaches, pumpkin, red peppers, spirulina, spinach, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress, yellow squash, winter squash, alfalfa, borage leaves, burdock root, cayenne (capsicum), chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, horsetail, kelp, lemongrass, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, plantain, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, sage, uva ursi, violet leaves, watercress, yellow dock. The body regulates the conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A based on the body’s needs. Sources of beta-carotene are also pink grapefruit, spinach, and most dark green, leafy vegetables. The more intense the color of a fruit or vegetable, the higher the beta-carotene content as long as the fruit or vegetable is not injected to make it look better then it is. Beware for inorganic injection. Try to use organic fruits and vegetables which are untampered with beyond picking and packaging.