Vitamin A: Retinoids and Carotenoids

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The Pure TheraPro Team

The Pure TheraPro Education Team is comprised of researchers from diverse backgrounds including nutrition, functional medicine, fitness, supplement formulation & food science. All articles have been reviewed for content, accuracy, and compliance by a holistic integrative nutritionist certified by an accredited institution.
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Many people have issues converting beta-carotene (vitamin A that generally comes from fruits and vegetables) into an active form of vitamin A that the body can utilize. In fact, it is estimated that about 45% of the population has problems with this conversion.  Because of this, many men and women do not get the proper amount of vitamin A from their diets, resulting in many bodily systems being impacted by low vitamin A—that’s your eyes, skin, immune system, lungs and bones. That’s not good!


The vitamin A family can be categorized into two forms: retinols/retinyl esters and carotenoids. Carotenoids need to be converted to retinol in the body in order to be utilized properly. Retinols and retinyl esters, however, have higher bioavailability compared to carotenoids. The body doesn’t struggle to convert these into their active form. Vitamin A palmitate easily converts to the bioavailable form compared to carotenoids for this reason.

“I get my vitamin A from food”, such as solely from beta-carotene can only go so far. The conversion of beta-carotene from food is lower than you might think! You would need to eat 12 mcg of beta carotene from food to have the same body effects of 1 mcg of retinol. That’s a huge difference!

A four-year study of high dose (41,000 IU per day) beta-carotene supplementation showed a 151% average increase in blood beta-carotene levels--but no significant increase in blood vitamin A (retinol) levels. This confirms the poor conversion of beta carotene to vitamin A. 

Vitamin A palmitate is a retinoid. Retinoids are bioavailable—they’re easily absorbed by the body and can be used efficiently—much more efficiently than carotenoids.

Vegans and vegetarians are good candidates for vitamin A palmitate supplementation, since they may have a deficiency of vitamin A that cannot be supplemented with carotenoids alone. Common symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include dry eyes and vision problems (night blindness) as well as poor immune function. Vitamin A is also instrumental in red blood cell formation.

Retinoids are found in animal products, and the US FDA recommends 5,000 IU of vitamin A per day from both animal and plant sources (palmitate and beta-carotine). So, definitely eat those colorful fruits and vegetables! Vitamin A palmitate can be consumed by eating meat or dairy--or by supplementation.

Vitamin A palmitate (retinol palmitate) has been researched in thousands of peer-reviewed studies for over four decades, and has been proven safe, non-toxic and beneficial to the body, both at recommended RDA levels and up to the Tolerable Upper Limit of 10,000 IU a day.


Our Vegan ADK contains “micellized" Vitamin A  in both forms (Palmitate and Beta-carotene). Micellized  means it is delivered in extremely small droplets that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Our Vegan ADK was ranked as one of the best vitamin A supplements on Health Cares.


Each serving (5 drops) supplies 1,507 mcg RAE of vitamin A (that's approximately 1,000 IU per drop).

Vitamin A plays an essential role in healthy immune function and vision, normal growth and development, and the health of skin and mucous membranes.