Vitamin A, an essential nutrient, plays a crucial role in many aspects of our health, from vision to immune defense. This comprehensive guide sheds light on its discovery, its various forms, dosages and the diseases it can cure. It also discusses complementary supplements and medicinal plants, as well as its use as a natural remedy in medicine.

The discovery of vitamin A

The history of the vitamin begins in the early 1900s, when scientists began to understand the link between diet and disease. In 1913, researchers Elmer McCollum and Marguerite Davis discovered a fat-soluble substance in animal fats that was crucial for the prevention of certain eye diseases. They named this substance “Factor A”, known as vitamin A. This discovery was a turning point in nutritional science and led to the identification of other essential vitamins.

Forms and dosage

It exists in two main forms: Retinol (the active form found in animal products) and beta-carotene (a precursor, found in plant foods). Retinol can be used directly by the body, while beta-carotene needs to be converted into vitamin A.

The recommended daily intake varies according to age, gender and stage of life. Adult men need about 900 µg, while women need 700 µg. Pregnant and breastfeeding women have a higher requirement.

Curing diseases with vitamin A

The vitamin is known for its role in vision, particularly in the prevention of night blindness. It also supports skin health, immune function and cell growth regulation. Deficiency can lead to serious health problems, including xerophthalmia (drying of the cornea), immune insufficiency and even death in severe deficiencies.

Complementary food supplements and medicinal plants

Supplementary food supplements and medicinal plants can help to support vitamin A absorption. Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc are important for the conversion of beta-carotene into retinol. Medicinal plants such as cod liver oil, rich in vitamins A and D, as well as carrots, sweet potatoes and kale, which contain high amounts of beta-carotene, can support the vitamin A supply.

Vitamin A in naturopathy

In naturopathy, it is valued for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is used to treat skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. It is also an important component in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases due to its ability to strengthen the immune system.


Vitamin A is a vital nutrient that plays a key role in our health. From its discovery to its many uses in medicine and naturopathy, its importance in maintaining our health cannot be overstated. A balanced diet, supplemented with the right supplements and medicinal plants, can ensure that the body is adequately supplied with this essential vitamin.

Published on: 10. March 2024


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