Vitamin A Benefits Deficiencies | Sources Side effects of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and is also known by the name of retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye. Vitamin A is a very important nutrient which helps to enhance the immunity system to fight infections and keeps eyes and skin healthy. Vitamin A is also responsible for reducing inflammation through fighting free radical damage and building strong bones.
Types of Vitamin A:
Vitamin A is found in two primary forms: active Vitamin A and beta carotene.
- Active vitamin A is found in animal -derived foods such as meat, fish, poultry, and dairy foods, is in the form of retinoic acid, retinal and retinol. This “pre-formed” Vitamin A can be used directly by the human body; it does not need to first convert the Vitamin.
- The vitamin A is found in fresh fruits and vegetables, is in the form of “pro Vitamin A” carotenoids, which must be converted to active vitamin A by human body. Beta-carotene is the most common type of pro-vitamin A. There are more than 500 known carotenoids which have been identified; Fewer than 10 percent of them can be made into vitamin A in the body.
Important Sources Of Vitamin A:
Rich sources of vitamin A are Cod liver oil, cream, egg yolk, beef liver, cheddar cheese, fortified milk, and butter products. Try to add fresh fruits and vegetables such as Carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, apricots, broccoli, winter squash, peach, papaya, mango and pumpkin in your daily routine to ensure a regular supply of vitamin A.
Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency:
Vitamin A deficiency usually occurs by inadequate intake of foods high in vitamin A and dietary problems; excess consumption of alcohol and malabsorption can also be causes of vitamin A deficiency. The major deficiency symptoms of vitamin A include dry eyes, dry skin, frequent infections, night blindness, inflammation of the eyelids, dull lusterless hair, dandruff, brittle nails. Vitamin A deficiency may also cause fatigue, insomnia and depression.
Recommended Daily Intake Of Vitamin A:
Many people get enough vitamin A from their food. But in case of some people with vitamin A deficiency, doctor may suggest vitamin A supplements. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) includes the vitamin A you get from both the food and any supplements you take.
1-3 years old: 300 mcg/day
4-8 years old: 400 mcg/day
9-13 years old: 600 mcg/day
14 years old and up: 700 mcg/day
When pregnant: 750-770 mcg/day
When breastfeeding: 1,200-1,300 mcg/day
14 years old and up: 900 mcg/day
Health Benefits Of Vitamin A:
The immunity of human body is increased by vitamin A which activates the response of special type of leucocytes (white blood cells) called lymphocytes against harmful antigens. Vitamin A performs the dual role of preventing entry of pernicious germs as well as fighting against infections caused by them.
Vitamin A is well known for supporting good eye vision. It helps eyes to adapt properly in different intensities of light, keeps them humid and enhances night vision and maintains healthy retina. It also lessens the risk of cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration and other geriatric problems.
It protects skin from attack by free radicals and toxins. It also maintains humidity of skin to keep soft and healthy, prevents keratinizaion, dryness, acne and psoriasis.
Improves Bone Health:
Vitamin A aids in formation of a protective layer of hard material called dentin which increases hardness of teeth.
Prevents Formation Of stones In Urine:
The formation of stones due to calcium phosphate in urinary tract is prevented by vitamin A and maintains healthy urinary tract thereby thwarting recurrence of stone formation.
Helps proper Muscle Growth:
Proper muscular growth is ensured by vitamin A in children and adolescents thereby reducing the risk of muscular dystrophy.
Being a power anti-oxidant, vitamin A is found to prevent certain forms of cancer.
Old and dead tissues are replaced by new ones, teeth and bones are kept strong by vitamin A.
Vitamin A slows down the process of premature ageing by removing wrinkles, fine lines and age spots on the skin and keeps the skin fresh and healthy.
In the cases of children suffering from measles due to non-vaccination in time, vitamin A helps in lessening the ill effects of measles like fever and diarrhea.
Reduces Bad Cholesterol Levels:
Vitamin A reduces the levels of bad cholesterol and prevents the risk of heart attacks and cardiac arrests.
Safeguards Reproductive System:
It is observed that vitamin A maintains proper condition of urinary excretory system as well as reproductive system.
Word Of Caution:
Excessive intake of Vitamin A may lead to jaundice, nausea, loss of appetite, irritability, vomiting and hair loss. For better results ensure a regular supply of vitamin A in requisite quantities. Consuming too much vitamin A supplements alone or in combination with other antioxidants, is associated with an increased risk of birth defects, liver problems and lower bone density. So don’t consume high doses of vitamin A supplements and don’t take vitamin A supplements without consulting a doctor.