Vitamin A, also known as Retinol, is a fat – soluble vitamin. If talked scientifically, then vitamin A is the group of organic compounds such as retinol, retinoic acid, retinal, and several provitamins carotenoids. This vitamin is essential for proper vision, cell growth, healthy immune system and performs several other functions. It is a powerful antioxidant and helps in the overall growth of our body.
Why is Vitamin A important for us?
Every now and then, doctors and nutritionists suggest us to take vitamin A in proper amount but do you know why this vitamin is so important for our body?? Recent studies show that vitamin A is helpful in maintain good health. Apart from this, it is important for the good vision. It fosters cell growth and boosts immunity. It is also helpful in keeping our skin healthy. Vitamin A keeps the lines and wrinkles away by producing collagen which is responsible for keeping the skin healthy. According to the recent study, vitamin A is also helpful in treating some forms of cancer.
Types/ Forms of Vitamin A:
Vitamin A is available in two forms i.e. Active Vitamin A and beta – carotene. Active vitamin A, or you can say retinol, can be obtained from animal derived foods. This is a kind of preformed vitamin which is used by our body directly.
The second form of vitamin A i.e. beta-carotene can be obtained from the colourful fruits and vegetables. It is available in the form of provitamin carotenoids. As this not the pre-formed vitamin and, therefore, it is converted into retinol by our body after the food is ingested.
Sources of Vitamin A:
Vitamin A is available in the ample amount of the common food items which we eat regularly. Vitamin A can be obtained from dark leafy vegetable such as kale, spinach etc, lettuce, pumpkin, carrot, dried apricots, cantaloupe melon, sweet potato, Tuna fish, sweet red pepper, tropics fruits etc. Important is too to avoid killer food that is in your kitchen.
Diseases caused by the deficiency of Vitamin A:
Undoubtedly, Vitamin A is vital for our body and lack of this vitamin causes severe diseases. Deficiency of this vitamin mainly causes anaemia, night blindness, skin disorders, growth retardation, anxiety, depression etc. Some of the diseases caused by the lack of vitamin A are explained here.
Lack of vitamin A thickens the cornea and eventually leads to the permanent blindness. Such type of deficiency may be dietary or metabolic. It first causes night blindness and then leads to the extreme dryness of the eyes which causes permanent blindness.
Deficiency of vitamin A also causes respiratory infections. As it is already said that vitamin A boosts immunity and lack of such vitamin reduces our ability to fight with diseases. The younger the patient, the more severe the effects may be. It further leads to growth retardation and infections.
Another problem caused by the deficiency of vitamin A is the poor skin. Lack of vitamin A can lead to the poor complexion and causes wrinkles at a very early stage. Apart from skin, deficiency of vitamin A also causes unhealthy and poor hair.
How much amount of vitamin A is sufficient?
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and is stored in our fatty tissues, therefore, it should be taken in a limited amount. Excess of vitamin A is highly toxic to our health.
The amount of Vitamin A needed by children:
|1 – 3 years||300 mcg/ day|
|4 – 8 years||400 mcg/ day|
|9 – 13 years||600 mcg/ day|
Amount of Vitamin A needed by males and females (14 years and above)
|Male||900 mcg/ day|
|Female||700 mcg/ day|