Foods that are high in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, spinach, beef liver, carrots, red bell peppers and cantaloupe. Milk and dry cereals are often fortified with vitamin A. Fish oils, such as cod liver oil and halibut oil, also contain high concentrations of this vitamin.
Vitamin A is actually a group of retinoids, not a single vitamin. Meat and dairy sources contain preformed vitamin A, while plant sources contain carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, which are converted into retinol, the active form of vitamin A, in the body. Brightly hued vegetables typically contain more carotenoids than other vegetables. Multivitamins containing vitamin A and stand-alone supplements are also available for individuals who cannot meet their vitamin A needs through diet alone.
In the body, vitamin A helps support healthy vision. This vitamin is also essential for healthy skin, teeth and bones. It also plays a role in stimulating the production of white blood cells. The body stores excess vitamin A in the liver.
The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A, according to the Institute of Medicine's 2010 guidelines, is 900 micrograms per day for males age 14 and older and 700 micrograms per day for females age 14 and older who are not pregnant or lactating. Pregnant and nursing women require more vitamin A.