Sunday, October 7, 2012

Vitamin A: One of your Essential Emergency Supplies

By Terrance Franklin

Remember when your mom used to tell you to eat your carrots to make sure you could see well? The reason was due to vitamin A. Today as you'll notice, her kind advice was somewhat wrong, but the concept still applies. Without Vitamin A, you will have a a lot harder time living through when the SHTF.

The reason vitamin A is among your important emergency supplies

According to mom's advice, Vitamin A is essential for maintaining eyesight. The scientific term for Vitamin A is retinol, which is related to retina, the layer at the back of your eye responsible for helping you to see. Without having retinol, your retina can not work correctly. This actually starts to be noticed in the form of night blindness, however at some point can result in loss of sight.

It is especially essential for children under the age of 5, who require it for their developing body. Vitamin A deficiency has an effect on 1/3rd of children world-wide and causes approximately 670,000 deaths and the blindness of up to 500,000 more. If you are planning to live with children, it is important that vitamin A is one of your emergency supplies.

In addition to eye-sight, Vitamin A plays a number of other roles within the body. It plays a big part in cellular health, that has an effect on immune function, bone metabolic process, as well as the development of blood cells. The truth that it was one of the primary vitamins found is a testament to vitamin a's noticeable effect on overall health.

Different sources, different forms

Prepare yourself, this part will contain some biochemistry. As we previously mentioned, the genuine form of Vitamin A is retinol, that is in fact an alcohol. This isn't a stable form seen in nature so the form you would take in originates from a plant or animal source. The primary animal source is retinyl palmate, present in fatty tissues and the major form present in plants is among four types of carotene (like carrots, get it?).

The difficulty with carotene is that it isn't easily converted into retinol in the body. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it is stored in fat. The fatty retinyl palmate is much closer to retinol than the carotenes one can find in plants. In the absence of fats, the absorption of carotenes can be as little as 1:12, below 10%!

The ultimate way to supplement vitamin A, in home as well as in the field

That said, there is an incredibly simple method to supplement Vitamin A both at home as well as in survival situations. Additionally it is, in my humble viewpoint, a fairly tasty choice. The most effective source of Vitamin A available to most people is eating liver.

Since Vitamin A is fat soluble, there is the ability for the body to store it in the fat and use it as required. Because of this, it doesn't need to be taken every day. While there is a suggested regular allowance of 3,000IU, this can quickly be converted into a weekly allowance of 20,000IU. This is equal to around 300 grams of liver weekly, or half a pound. I am basing these numbers from beef liver however, there is Vitamin A is the liver of any animal you could think of; including fish (think cod liver oil).

This jives very well with a bugout technique of surviving in the wild. Vitamin A supplements is tricky from a pantry prepper perspective since many of the plant sources simply aren't absorbed as well as animal sources. As you know by now, all nutrients were not created equal. So if you plan on staying in one place, remember to keep hunting in mind, until you plan on being a post-apocalyptic Ray Charles.

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