Orange juice isn’t a great natural source of vitamin A. A glass of orange juice contains only 25 mcg of vitamin A, which is about 3% of the Daily Value. Furthermore, orange juice contains vitamin A in the form of carotenoids, which have low bioavailability!
Is orange juice rich in vitamin A?
Orange juice contains alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice contains about 420 mcg beta-cryptoxanthin, 82 mcg beta-carotene, and only 15 mcg alpha-carotene.
Carotenoids in a glass of orange juice are equivalent to 25 mcg of vitamin A. Actually, orange juice has a low vitamin A content. A glass of orange juice can provide us with only 3% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A!
We should eat other common foods high in vitamin A and carotenoids, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, turnip greens, dandelion greens, spinach, papaya, and pumpkin.
How much vitamin A do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 900 mcg and 700 mcg for men and women, respectively.
But, the absorption rate of vitamin A depends on the dietary source. Vitamin A from animal-based foods and supplements is more bioavailable than vitamin A from plant-based foods.
In fact, the recommended daily intake refers to retinol. A form of vitamin A naturally present only in animal-based foods.
On the other hand, plant-based foods contain carotenoids. The body converts carotenoids into retinol. It’s estimated that 12 mg of beta-carotene from food is equivalent to 1 mg of vitamin A (retinol). Beta-carotene is the most abundant and well-absorbed carotenoid. Other carotenoids are less bioavailable. For instance, 24 mg of alpha-carotene or beta-cryptoxanthin from foods are converted to 1 mg of retinol.
Hence, vegans, vegetarians, and people who follow a plant-based diet should consume much higher dosages of vitamin A.
On the other hand, too much vitamin A from supplements or certain animal-based foods may be dangerous and cause side effects.
Orange juice protects your eyesight
Vitamin A is well-known for protecting your vision and skin. Although orange juice contains low amounts of vitamin A, it’s beneficial for the eyes, as they’re particularly high in vitamin C. Just a glass of orange juice contains more vitamin C than the recommended daily intake! Vitamin C is crucial for your eyesight.
Moreover, getting high doses of both vitamin A and vitamin C are more beneficial for the eye.
So, you could drink fruit juices high in vitamin A, like carrot juice with fruit juices high in vitamin C, like orange juice, in order to protect your eyesight.