Vitamin A Benefits And Side Effect

Vitamin A is key to good vision, a healthy immune system, and cell growth. There are two kinds of vitamin A. This entrance is mainly about the functional form of vitamin A retinoids which arrive from animal products. Beta-carotene is among the second types of vitamin A, which comes from plants. Vitamins are organic senses present in minute portions in natural foodstuffs that our bodies require to develop and function naturally. It types into two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Vitamins help your body grow and work the way it should. They include- Vitamin A, B complex(thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid), C, D, E, K, Choline Vitamins have different jobs to help keep the body working suitably. 

What is vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a necessary element for our body. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. It helps form and maintain healthy teeth, heart, lungs, kidneys, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes, skin, and other organs that work perfectly. It is also known as retinol because it produces pigments in the retina of the eyes.
There are two different types of vitamins.

  • Preformed vitamin A (found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products).
  • Provitamin A (found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products).

The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplements is beta-carotene.

Which Foods Are Rich In Vitamin A?

The role of vitamin A in keeping the body healthy is immense. Different foods contain vitamin A. Two types of vitamin A foods that contain are given below :
Preformed vitamin A is found in foods from animal sources, including dairy products, fish, and meat (especially liver). By far the most important provitamin A carotenoid is beta-carotene; other provitamin A carotenoids are alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. The body converts these plant pigments into vitamin A.
Foods highest in preformed vitamin A are-:

  • Egg yolks,
  • Beef liver,
  • Liverwurst,
  • Butter,
  • Cod liver oil,
  • Chicken liver,
  • Salmon,
  • Cheddar cheese,
  • Liver sausage,
  • King mackerel,
  • Trout.

A provitamin is a substance that may be converted within the body to a vitamin. The term previtamin is a synonym. The term “provitamin” is used when it is desirable to label a substance with little or no vitamin activity, but which can be converted to an active form by normal metabolic processes.

Foods high in provitamin A are :

  • Pumpkin,
  • Carrots,
  • Kale,
  • Spinach,
  • Dandelion greens,
  • Cabbage,
  • Swiss chard,
  • Red peppers,
  • Collard greens,
  • Parsely,
  • Butternut squash,
  • Sweet red pepper,
  • Sweet potato.

Benefits of vitamin A?
Vitamin A provides us with two types of benefits –

  • Skin benefits, 
  • Health benefits.

Skin benefits :

  • Vitamin A helps to speed up healing,
  • prevent breakouts and support the skin’s immune system 
  • it promotes natural moisturizing  
  • which means it helps to hydrate the skin effectively, 
  • giving it a radiant glow. It assists in promoting and maintaining a healthy dermis and epidermis;

 Health benefits:

  • May Lower Your Risk of Certain Cancers. 
  • Healthy Immune System.
  • Supports Bone Health.
  • Promotes Healthy Growth and reduces face acne.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a necessary nutrient that benefits health in many ways. Some details given below:

1. Maintain Eyes Health: Sufficient information on vitamin A can keep eye disorders at bay and enhance eyesight. Several eye disorders like glaucoma, cataracts, night blindness, etc. It can avoid by frequent consumption of foods with vitamin A in them.

2. Boosts Immunity In kids: Vitamin A is essential for enhancing immunity in kids. The analysis has indicated that a deficiency of Vitamin A in kids makes them tolerant to diseases like diarrhea and measles.

3. Promotes Skin And Hair Health: Vitamin A is one of the most vital vitamins for skin and hair health. It is because vitamin A facilitates the reserve of skin cells and promotes hair growth. It is used in making acne medicines and also medicines to treat baldness. Vitamin A also contains skin aging, making your skin look young for longer.

4. Lowers Risk Of Cancer: Research has indicated that a good intake of beta-carotene lowers the risk of lung, stomach, and prostate cancer in people. Nevertheless, an overdose of vitamin A accessories may lead to an increase in the risk of cancer.

5. Maintains Bone Health: Vitamin A is essential for healthy bones as it plays a vital role in the formation of osteoblasts- the bones are responsible for building new bones. A deficiency of vitamin A leads to poor absorption and metabolism of calcium, leading to poor bone health.

6. May Protect Against Certain Cancers

Due to their antioxidant properties, carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables may protect against certain types of cancer. For example, a study in over 10,000 adults determined that smokers with the highest blood levels of alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin had a 46% and 61% lower risk of dying from lung cancer, respectively than non-smokers with the lowest intake of these nutrients. What is more, test-tube studies demonstrate that retinoids may inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells, such as bladder, breast, and ovarian cancer.

7. Vital for Fertility and Fetal Development

Vitamin A is essential for both male and female reproduction because it plays a role in sperm and egg development. It’s also critical for placental health, fetal tissue development, and maintenance, as well as fetal growth. Therefore, vitamin A is integral to maternal and fetal health and to those trying to conceive.

8. Boosts Your Immune System

Vitamin A impacts immune health by stimulating responses that protect your body from illnesses and infections. Vitamin A is involved in the creation of certain cells, including B- and T-cells, which play central roles in immune responses that guard against disease. A deficiency in this nutrient leads to increased levels of pro-inflammatory molecules that diminish immune system response and function.

Side Effect Of Vitamin A

Though vitamin A deficiency is rare in developed countries like the US, it’s common in developing countries, as these populations may have limited access to food sources of preformed vitamin A and provitamin A carotenoids. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to severe health complications.

  • Breast cancer. Premenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer who consume high levels of vitamin A in their diet seem to have a lower risk of breast cancer. If taking vitamin A supplements has the same benefit.
  • Cataracts. People who consume high amounts of vitamin A in their diet seem to have a lower risk of developing cataracts.
  • Measles. Taking vitamin A by mouth seems to reduce the risk of measles complications or death in children with measles and vitamin A deficiency.
  • Precancerous lesions in the mouth. Research suggests that taking vitamin A can help treat precancerous lesions in the mouth.
  • Pregnancy-related death. Taking vitamin A before and during pregnancy seems to reduce the risk of death by 40% in malnourished women.
  • Pregnancy-related night blindness. Taking vitamin A during pregnancy seems to night blindness by 37% in malnourished women. Vitamin A might work better for this condition when taken with zinc.
  • Diarrhea after giving birth. Taking vitamin A before, during, and after pregnancy reduces diarrhea after giving birth in malnourished women.
  • Eye disease affects the retina (retinitis pigmentosa). Taking vitamin A can slow the progression of an eye disease that causes damage to the retina.

According to the WHO, vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children worldwide. Vitamin A deficiency also increases the severity and risk of dying from infections like measles and diarrhea.  Additionally, vitamin A deficiency raises the risk of anemia and death in pregnant women and negatively impacts the fetus by slowing growth and development.

Less severe symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include skin issues like hyperkeratosis and acne Certain groups such as premature infants, people with cystic fibrosis and pregnant or breastfeeding women in developing countries are more at risk of vitamin A deficiency.
Symptoms of a Vitamin A Deficiency

  • Night blindness. This causes you to have trouble seeing in low light.
  • Xerophthalmia. With this condition, the eyes may become very dry and crusted, which may damage the cornea and retina.
  • Infection. 
  • Bigot spots.
  • Skin irritation. 
  • Keratomalacia. 
  • Stunted growth.

Deficiency is also widespread in some developing countries where food variety is limited. It is common in populations whose diet is dominated by refined rice, white potatoes or cassava and lacking in meat, fat and vegetables.
A common symptom of early deficiency includes night blindness. As it progresses, it may lead to more serious conditions, such as:

  • Dry eyes: Severe deficiency may cause xerophthalmia, a condition characterized by dry eyes caused by reduced tear fluid formation 
  • Blindness: Serious vitamin A deficiency may lead to total blindness. In fact, it is among the most common preventable causes of blindness in the world 
  • Hair loss: If you are vitamin A deficient, you may start to lose your hair
  • Skin problems: Deficiency leads to a skin condition known as hyperkeratosis or goose flesh 
  • Poor immune function: Poor vitamin A status or deficiency makes people prone to infections

Recommended intake

The recommended intake of vitamin A varies according to age. People also need more during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
It is available in several forms, and the vitamin A content in foods is often measured as retinol activity equivalents (RAEs).
One RAE is equal to:

  • one microgram (mcg) of retinol
  • 12 mcg of beta-carotene from food
  • two mcg of beta-carotene from supplements
  • 3.33 international units of vitamin A

 of vitamin A by age are as follows:

  • up to 6 months: 400 mcg
  • 7–12 months: 500 mcg
  • 1–3 years: 300 mcg
  • 4–8 years: 400 mcg
  • 9–13 years: 600 mcg
  • 14+ years: 900 mcg for males and 700 mcg for females

During pregnancy, the requirement is 770 mcg per day. While breastfeeding, it is 1,300 mcg per day.
The 2007–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average U.S. individual, aged two years and above, consumes 607 mcg of vitamin A per day.

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Point of post:

Vitamin A also known as retinol, is a fat-soluble vitamin traditionally associated with vision and eye health. The most abundant dietary sources of vitamin A are liver, fish liver oil, and butter. Deficiency is rare in developed countries but is most common among people, especially those dominated by rice, white potatoes, and cassava. Do not use vitamin A without medical recommendations if you are pregnant. Although some vitamin A is essential for the normal development of a baby. It can cause birth faults if used in large doses. You may need to use a prenatal vitamin specially formulated for pregnant women.

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