Vitamin A

Vitamin A

Ingredient name: Vitamin A

Chemical Formula: C36H60O2 (Retinyl Palmitate)

Food and Drug Administration Recommended Daily Value: 5,000 IUs/day

Quantity of Vitamin A included in one pouch of Soylent: 5,000 IUs

Nutrition role

Vitamin A, which refers to several retinoid compounds, plays a role in a wide variety of processes in the body. Vitamin A can be ingested either through preformed vitamin A compounds (such as retinyl palmitate), or provitamin A compounds.[1] 

Vitamin A plays a critical role in eye function. Rod cells, a type of photoreceptor cell in the eye, utilize a protein called rhodopsin in order to detect light. Rhodopsin[2] is itself composed of the protein opsin coupled with a derivative of vitamin A known as an 11-cis-retinal.[3] When rhodopsin absorbs light, the 11-cis-retinal molecule is transformed to a different type of retinoid, known as all-trans-retinal. The transformation triggers the signaling of visual neuron cells, which transmit the corresponding visual stimulus to the brain.[4] As a critical component component of vision, severe vitamin A deficiencies can result in night blindness.

Vitamin A plays roles in a variety of other processes in the body, including immune function, apoptosis (apoptosis is a programmed death of sorts for unneeded cells) and cell-to-cell communication. Vitamin A's primary connection to these various processes lies in its ability to regulate which genetic instructions (which parts of a cell's DNA) are acted upon by the cell.[5],[6]

Vitamin A compounds are absorbed in the small intestine and transported, like other fat-soluble vitamins, to the liver, where 80 percent of vitamin A is found.[7] 

Reason this form chosen

Preformed vitamin A retinyl palmitate has drastically higher bioavailability levels than provitamin A carotenoids.[8]


[1] Carotenoids, a class of pigments commonly found in carrots, are a type of provitamin A compound.

[2] Rhodopsin is a  member of the G-Protein Receptor Family.

[3] 11-cis-retinal is a cofactor, or non-protein compound that is critical to a protein's function, of rhodopsin.

[4]  "Vitamin A." In Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc, 85. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2001. http://plk.tn/1HMaEkp 

[5] In science, this is referred to as gene expression.  

[6] Stipanuk, Martha H., and Marie A. Caudill. "Vitamin A." In Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition, 686. Third Edition ed. St. Louis: Elsevier, 2013.

[7] Erdman, John W., Ian MacDonald, and Steven H. Zeisel. "Vitamin A." In Present Knowledge in Nutrition, 154. Washington, DC: International Life Sciences Institute, 2012.

[8] "Vitamin A." In Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc, 86-92. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2001. http://plk.tn/1HMaEkp 

 

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