From the beginning of the 19th century to the mid-20th century, all the thirteen vitamins that we now have were discovered one by one to help us understand health and illnesses. Vitamin A is one of them, a micronutrient that is vital for our vision, to function properly, for our growth and development, and to strengthen our immune system.
But even if we are already aware of vitamin A’s role in the human body, we might often wonder if it’s safe enough to consume along with other nutrients and minerals, like zinc, for example. You may be wondering, can I take vitamin A and zinc together?
You can take vitamin A and zinc together, as both are important micro-nutrients that complement each other in certain, important ways. Studies have suggested that the presence of zinc facilitates the processing of vitamin A in our body.
This interaction helps boost our body’s defense system or immunity, and it helps promote cell growth and reproduction.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of taking vitamin A and zinc together and the recommended daily amounts!
Can I Take Vitamin A and Zinc Together?
Currently, there is no available research published that shows any adverse reactions that might happen when you take vitamin A and zinc together. In fact, most journals and articles about these would always give positive and plausible explanations as to why they work well together. 
Zinc works great when taken with vitamin A (and also great with B12 and C). It works well because zinc helps the body absorb and process the vitamin into the body better.
To better appreciate them working together in making us healthy, we need to get to know vitamin A and zinc separately.
Here is what you need to know about Vitamin A.
1. Where Do I Get Vitamin A?
Even without purposely taking any vitamin A capsules available in your local drugstore or grocery, you can get your dose of vitamin A from food sources.
Vitamin A is of two types: the one that you get from dairy products, fish, poultry, and meat – or what is called Preformed vitamin A; and another that is present in vegetables, fruits, and plant-based products – or what’s called Provitamin A.
- Preformed Vitamin A – is in the form of retinol and esters 
- Provitamin A – is in the form of carotenoid, primarily beta carotene 
Interestingly, some amount of fat in the diet is needed to help the body absorb vitamin A, while it’s also important to not overcook the food as, by doing so, it decreases the level of vitamin A present in the food.
2. What Are the Benefits of Vitamin A?
We’ve mentioned earlier that our immune system, cell growth and development, and vision are the things that mainly benefit from vitamin A. But let’s break it down further:
- More often than not, we associate Vitamin A with our eyesight. Vitamin’s retinal component plays a big role in protecting our eyes’ cornea (outer layer) and conjunctiva (the membrane protecting the eye surface and inside of the eyelids). Retinal plus a protein known as opsin are also responsible for ensuring our low-light and color vision.
- It strengthens our immunity by way of facilitating the production and spread of the white blood cells known as T-cells that help shield the body from infection.
- It assists in maintaining our body’s surface tissue like our bladder, lungs, inner ear, and of course, our skin.
- Vitamin A also supports the body’s reproductive system, including the development of a fetus.
3. What Is the Recommended Vitamin A Allowance?
According to the Office of the Dietary Supplements in the U.S.,  each person should have, in the body, a reasonable supply of vitamin A depending on gender, age, and health condition, which can be obtained from food items or supplements:
|U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin A in Milligrams:
|Breastfeeding women 19 years old and above
|Breastfeeding teenagers 14-18 years old
|Pregnant women 19 years old and above
|Pregnant teenagers 14-18 years old
|Females 14 years old and above
|Males 14 years old and above
4. When Is the Best Time to Take Vitamin A?
According to studies, vitamin A supplements can be taken without food or with something in your stomach. If you’re more comfortable taking it in the morning, it’s best to take it before having something for breakfast. If you want to take it mid-day, it’s better to take it a couple of hours after a meal for better absorption.
5. What Happens When I Don’t Have Enough Vitamin A in My Body?
Vitamin A deficiency tends to be prevalent among developing countries where food supplies and sources (providing the 2 forms of vitamin A), compared to the U.S, are relatively low. Even so, the lack of or inadequate vitamin A in the body can result in certain health issues and hazards such as:
- blindness (among children especially)
- severe infections (like diarrhea and measles)
- pregnancy complications (like slow fetus development and anemia)
- skin problems (like acne and abnormal skin thickening, aka hyperkeratosis)
See this video to know more about vitamin A:
Zinc is a nutrient vital to our health. Our bodies do not manufacture this nutrient; hence we get it either through certain food sources or supplements. Next to iron, zinc is one of the most abundant trace minerals in our bodies – found in every cell, actually.
1. Where Do I Get Zinc?
There’s a variety of food items that contain zinc, and in fact, this mineral is found in most of what we often consume. Some of these zinc-rich foods include:
- Red meat
- Oysters (the best source), crabs, and lobsters
- Whole grains, nuts, and beans
- Breakfast cereals
- Dairy products
Dietary supplements such as multi-vitamins containing zinc can also be taken to benefit from this mineral. Interestingly, there are some dental adhesive creams that also contain zinc!
2. What Are the Benefits of Zinc?
Zinc is essential for promoting children’s healthy growth, helping build a stronger immune system, and better healing of wounds. More specifically, zinc plays a role in:
- Stimulating enzymes responsible for digestion and metabolism
- Healthy functioning of the body’s defense/immune system
- Helping the body manufacture proteins and DNA, essential for cell growth and development
- Assisting in the reduction of inflammation
- Sharpening our sense of smell and taste, as zinc works with the enzyme vital to these two senses – the carbonic anhydrase (CA) VI.
- Improving memory and learning, by way of regulating how neurons connect with one another
- Shortening the course and severity of the common cold (through zinc lozenges) by a much as 40%, according to MedicalNewsToday. 
See the below video for the benefits of zinc:
3. What Is the Recommended Zinc Dose?
The suggested daily dose of zinc depends on demographics, much like vitamin A and other nutrients. Based on the ‘Patient Care & Health Info’ article from The Mayo Clinic,  it would still be best to consult your doctor before starting your zinc supplement.
The frequency of taking zinc may also differ from person to person, depending on one’s health condition. However, there’s still a recommended daily allowance for everyone’s guidance:
|U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of Zinc in Milligrams:
|Children 0 to 3 years old
|Children 4 to 10 years old
|Breastfeeding teens & adults
|Pregnant teens & adults
|Females 14 years old and above
|Males 14 years old and above
4. When Is the Best Time to Take Zinc?
Health experts suggest that zinc supplements should be taken either at least 1 hour before meals or 2 hours after meals in order for it to be effective. In cases where such supplements would cause stomach discomfort (though quite rare), zinc may then be taken with food.
5. What Happens If I Don’t Get Enough Zinc?
The occurrence of zinc deficiency is rather uncommon, but it can still happen in cases where there are certain genetic mutations in breastfeeding babies with zinc-deficient mothers and among those who drink too much alcohol. Oftentimes, such a deficiency can be triggered by insufficient dietary intake. Zinc deficiency can lead to any of the following:
- Impaired immune system – making the person highly susceptible to infection
- Stunted growth and development
- Frequent diarrhea
- Lowered “good” cholesterol levels – making the person more prone to cardiovascular diseases
- Skin rashes
See the below video to learn if you are deficient in zinc. If you are deficient, taking zinc with vitamin A together is a great option and can help get you to the optimum levels.
Conclusion – Can I Take Vitamin A and Zinc Together?
So, can I take vitamin A and zinc together? Taking vitamin A and zinc in tandem is beneficial to your health, as both are sources of essential nutrients for our body. Both work to fortify our immune system as well as aid in cell growth and development.
There is still not enough research conducted to show how exactly these two interact with each other (or if they ever do). Most studies, however, would suggest that taken together, vitamin A and zinc are great at combating major and minor health issues. When used together, they are even more effective at making our defenses more resilient, helping keep us away from complications and illnesses.
Indeed, vitamin A is able to ‘co-exist’ with other elements, compounds, and minerals to harmoniously benefit the human body – like the trace mineral zinc, which helps our body fight infection and contribute to overall cell reproduction. So if you’re someone who takes supplements daily, don’t be afraid to take vitamin A and zinc together.