All about Vitamin A benefits and deficieny. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which can be obtained either directly by absorbing it from foods derived from plant eating animals as retinol, or by making it from the vitamin precursor, beta-carotene, found in certain vegetables.
Role of Vitamin A For Body
Generally speaking, the role of vitamin a for body is mainly assisting the function of white blood cells and supports antibody production.
Vitamin A benefits are needed for healthy growth and repair of cell membranes, and is important for protein metabolism, as a co-enzyme in the skin, retina, liver and adrenal glands, and for the synthesis of hormones and glycogen.
Vitamin A Benefits
Correct vitamin A levels in the body are necessary for maintaining good night vision and healthy eyes.
It acts a powerful antioxidant, protecting against pollution and degenerative diseases like cancer, stroke and heart disease. Vitamin A benefits the immune system to protect against colds and flu, infections of the lungs, kidneys and bladder.
Vitamin A is important in the maintenance of healthy skin, hair, mucous membranes, sense of taste, teeth, bones, reproduction, digestive and urinary tracts, fat storage, protein and glycogen synthesis.
Some believe that maintaining high levels in the body also slows the ageing process.
Vitamin A Deficiency
Factors that may increase vitamin A deficiency include alcohol consumption, low-fat diets, diets high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, smoking, living in a polluted area, diabetes, and an under-active thyroid gland.
An early symptom of vitamin A deficiency is deteriorating night vision and dry itchy eyes that tire easily. Malfunctioning tear glands lead to eye problems with dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea, eyes becoming itchy, dry and inflamed.
Ear abscesses and sinusitis can result from vitamin A deficiency, as can insomnia and fatigue. Skin may become dry, rough and scaly, appearing to age prematurely. Acne, boils, and bumpy skin may become a problem.
Vitamin A deficiency also impairs our resistance to colds, flu, bacterial, and viral infections, especially of the respiratory and urinary tracts.
Recommended Vitamin A Dosage
Recommended daily allowance (minimum daily dosage to ward off serious vitamin a deficiency) RDA of vitamin A dosage for men is 1 mg and 0.8 mg for women, although 2 mg vitamin A dosage is commonly used in multi vitamin supplements.
Vitamin A Overdose and Toxicity
There is a danger with taking too much. If you inadvertently take a vitamin A overdose, the ensuing vitamin A toxicity in the body will cause headaches, diarrhea, hair loss, blurred vision, drowsiness, spleen and liver enlagement may occur. N.B. Never eat polar bear liver – 500g would deliver a lethal vitamin a overdose of 1,800 mg!
Vitamin A in Foods
Here are examples of where to find vitamin A benefits in foods:
Animal vitamin A in foods : Milk, butter, cheese, egg yolk, liver, beef, pork, chicken, turkey.
Plant vitamin A food sources : Carrots, broccoli, squash, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, apricots, dandelion greens, cantaloupe, oat flakes, mango, red pepper, turnip greens, green leafy vegetables, yellow fruits.