For people with certain genetic variants, getting your recommended daily intake of vitamin A might look a little different than eating a few servings of carrots, peppers, or spinach. The beta-carotene found in plants needs to be converted by an enzyme into the retinol form of vitamin A used by your body. There are two genetic variants in the BCMO1 gene that can decrease the conversion of beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A found in these plant-based sources, to the vitamin A your body can use. (Check your BCMO1 (beta-carotene conversion) gene here.) Good news for meat and cheese lovers! People with BCMO1 variants can look to meat and dairy products to meet the recommended 900 mcg/day of vitamin A.
Vitamin A (retinol) Foods
This list focuses on foods high in the retinol form of vitamin A that your body doesn’t need to convert. Vitamin A in its retinol form naturally occurs in meat and dairy products and can also be found in certain fortified cereals, breads, and pastas.
|Food||Serving Size||vitamin A (mcg)||% Daily Value|
|Beef liver||3 oz||6,582||731|
|Cod liver oil||1 tbsp (13.6 g)||4080||453|
|Bluefin Tuna||3 oz||557||62|
|Pickled Atlantic Herring||1 oz||258||29|
|Mozzarella Cheese||100 g||203||23|
|Ricotta Cheese||0.5 cup||164||18|
|Cottage Cheese||1 cup||152||17|
|Yogurt, Greek, plain, lowfat||100 g||90||10|
|Whole milk||1 cup||77.2||9|
|Cheddar Cheese||1 slice (28 g)||74||8|
|Sockeye Salmon||3 oz||41.6||5|
|Ground Turkey, 97% lean 3% fat||100 g||30||3|
|Tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids||3oz||20||2|
You can track your vitamin A intake via cronometer.com, a free web app for tracking nutrients.
Recipe Ideas for more foods rich in vitamin A (retinol):
Looking for recipes that will incorporate some of these retinol-rich foods into your diet? Check out these delicious recipes! (Retinol per serving is an estimate based on average vitamin A in the foods.)
Garlic Butter Pan-Seared Salmon:
Try this Garlic Butter Pan-Seared Salmon from The Kitchen. With the butter and sockeye salmon, this is an excellent source of retinol!
Excellent source of vitamin A (retinol) 52% DV/serving.
Steamed Clams Recipe:
These Mediterranean-Style Steamed Clams also provide an excellent source of retinol.
Excellent source of vitamin a (retinol) 34% DV/serving.
Grilled cheddar cheese:
Get some vitamin A from the cheddar cheese in this Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Delish, a grown-up version of a childhood favorite!
Excellent source of vitamin a (retinol) 25% DV/serving.
Pasture-raised eggs are an excellent source of vitamin A:
For extra fluffy eggs (with extra vitamin A) try out The Schmidty Wife’s cottage cheese egg recipe.
Excellent source of vitamin a (retinol) 21% DV/serving.
Yogurt with grass-fed milk is a great source of vitamin A:
This make-ahead greek yogurt parfait is the perfect on-the-go breakfast that is also a good source of vitamin A.
Good source of vitamin A (retinol) 17% DV/serving.
Ricotta cheese in a vegetarian pasta dish:
The ricotta in Katie Bird Bakes’ Lemon Ricotta & Spinach Pasta makes this pasta dish a good source of vitamin A.
Good source of vitamin a (retinol) 14% DV/serving.
Chicken liver pate:
Caroline’s Cooking easy chicken liver pate recipe.
Chicken liver is an excellent source of vitamin A, and often people find it more palatable than beef liver.
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. Fascinated by the connections between genes, diet, and health, her goal is to help you understand how to apply genetics to your diet and lifestyle decisions. Debbie has a BS in engineering and an MSc in biological sciences from Clemson University. Debbie combines an engineering mindset with a biological systems approach to help you understand how genetic differences impact your optimal health.