Vitamin A (Vit A) is a lipid-soluble vitamin required for diverse normal body functions, including good vision, reproduction, growth, development, and cellular differentiation. The therapeutic effects of Vit A have been demonstrated for the treatments of inflammation, low immunity, and cancer. The present review discusses the scientific evidence for establishing the 2020 Dietary Reference Intakes for Koreans (KDRI) for Vit A, issues caused by unit change of Vit A, and suggestions for the 2025 KDRI revision. Due to the changes in the standard bodyweight observed in several age groups, the 2020 KDRI had minor revisions as compared to the 2015 KDRI. In the 2015 KDRI, the Vit A unit has changed from retinol equivalent (RE) to retinol activity equivalent (RAE) and the activity of carotenoids became half with RAE compared to RE due to this unit change. Since the Vit A intake of Koreans relies heavily on plant-based carotenoids, the dietary intake of Vit A in Koreans as determined by considering the RAE was much lower than values obtained with RE. The analysis for Vit A intake by the Korean National Health and Nutrition Survey only reflects intakes of retinol and beta-carotene. Thus, it would be necessary to include the consumption of other provitamin A, such as alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. Moreover, assessing the amounts of Vit A in foods should be customized to Korean diets since there are seasonal variations in the carotenoid concentration of plants. Moreover, other factors such as age- and sex-specific intake data and considerations of baseline micronutrient status, body mass index, and dietary patterns should be considered for developing more precise KDRI. In particular, the Vit A requirement needs to be met by consuming diverse foods, including animal foods.
- vitamin A