Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for our health and mostly found in foods of animal origin. Vitamin A plays an important role for preventing and treating many diseases.
Facts about Vitamin A: what is Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which is also known as Retinol. It is first identified in 1913 and also called as anti-infective vitamin. Vitamin A is very good for the eye sight and immune system. Vitamin A can be found in two major forms in foods- retinol and carotenoids. While retinol is associated with foods of animal origin, carotenoids can be found in some fruits and vegetables. Retinol is called preformed Vitamin A and carotenoids are referred to as provitamin A. Our body has the ability to convert members of the carotenoid family into Vitamin A, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and gamma-carotene.
Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms
Mostly Vitamin A deficiency is found among malnourished, elderly, and chronically sick populations. Here is a list of Vitamin A deficiency signs and symptoms:
• Reduced night vision and Night blindness
• Eye inflammation
• Rough or dry skin
• Bone abnormalities
• Growth retardation in children
• Vulnerability to urinary infection
• Vulnerability to respiratory infection
• Loss of appetite
Lack of Vitamin A increases the chances of viral infections, measles, chicken pox, pneumonia, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Xerophthalmia is a condition of abnormal dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea of the eyes is a result of prolonged Vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A Food Sources
Here are the foods rich in Vitamin A:
• Sweet Potato
• Turnip Greens
• Winter Squash
• Swiss Chard
• Collard Greens
• Cantaloupe Melon
• Cheddar Cheese
Function of Vitamin A – Health Benefits of Vitamin A
Although Vitamin A is best known for its role in eyesight or vision but Vitamin A also has other health benefits as well.
• Vision support- Good for the eyesight: Vitamin A improves the vision. It cuts down the chances of developing cataracts and macular degeneration and ensures healthy eyes. Vitamin A is good for those who are suffering from glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve and impairs vision.
• Good for Immune System: Vitamin A affects several immune system activities, it promotes the growth of thymus gland. Vitamin A enhances white blood cells activities, fights infections, and keeps the mucous membranes moist for better immunity.
• Good for the Skin: Vitamin A helps to keep the body free from toxins and free radicals and helps to keep the skin soft by moisture retention. It also protects the skin from the skin conditions such as keratinisation and psoriasis.
• Prevents Acne: Vitamin A reduces the risk of acne by cutting down excess sebum production. Vitamin A is extremely important for the skin and for the proper maintenance of skin tissues and mucous membranes.
• Necessary for Cell Growth: Vitamin A is essential for normal cell growth and development.
• Good for bones and teeth: Vitamin A plays a major role in strengthening the bones and teeth. It helps in the formation of dentin - a calcareous material harder and denser than bone that comprises the bulk of a tooth.
• Slows Down Aging: Vitamin A eliminates the wrinkles and reduces the fine lines. It lays an important role in enhancing skin health and slowing down the aging process.
Vitamin A is also very helpful in lowering cholesterol levels, thus reduces the risks of heart diseases.