The absorption section of our Vitamin A article has been updated with information addressing a genetic predisposition for being a “low responder” for obtaining vitamin A through beta-carotene.
Vegans get most or all of their vitamin A from plant foods that contain provitamin A carotenoids that our bodies convert to vitamin A. The most active of these carotenoids is beta-carotene.
There are many factors, including genetics, that influence carotenoid conversion to vitamin A, and some people don’t absorb or convert carotenoids to vitamin A very well.
Based on current scientific knowledge, we continue to recommend meeting the DRI for vitamin A with carotenoid-rich foods: carrots, sweet potatoes, and bright orange winter squashes, and leafy green vegetables.
If you have concerns about your own ability to convert carotenoids into vitamin A, taking a vegan supplement providing a small amount of preformed vitamin A in the form of retinol is another option. You shouldn’t take more than 3,000 mcg RAE (10,000 IU) of retinol daily.
More details can be found in the Vitamin A article.