Vitamin A or retinol is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in ensuring healthy eyes and bone development. Its deficiency is the most common cause of blindness among children. It can prevent night blindness and dry eyes, while also ensuring clear vision.
Important Sources of Vitamin A
Fish liver oils, cream, egg yolk, beef liver, cheddar cheese, fortified milk, and butter products are rich sources of Vitamin A. Yellow or orange-colored fruits and vegetables that contain the pigment carotene are also top sources. Be sure to include food items such as sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, spinach, mango, pumpkin, tomato, oatmeal, apricot, peach, peas, papaya and collard greens in your daily diet to ensure a regular supply of vitamin A.
Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms
Some of the major deficiency symptoms of Vitamin A include keratinization of the skin, night blindness, a burning sensation or itching in the eyes, inflammation of the eyelids, xerophthalmia (dryness of the conjunctiva), dull lusterless hair dandruff, brittle nails that break easily, sexual disorders, and precancerous changes in the body tissues. A deficiency of this vitamin may also result in fatigue, insomnia and depression.
Health Benefits of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential for a healthy body and it has many beneficial properties, including those listed below.
Improves Immunity: Vitamin A enhances the body’s immunity against infections by increasing the lymphocytic responses against disease-causing antigens. It keeps the mucus membranes moist to ensure better immunity and also enhances the activity of white blood cells. It not only prevents the germs from entering your body, but also helps to fight the infections once the germs gain entry into the body system, thereby ensuring a double core of protection.
Ensures Healthy Eyes: Vitamin A can aid in improving vision. It enables your eyes to adjust to light changes, keeps the eyes moist, and also improves night vision. It can prevent many conditions like dry eyes as well. It helps in the formation of visual purple in the eyes, which can improve the vision of weak eyes. It ensures a healthy retina and also prevents night blindness by increasing the adaptability of the human eye to both bright light and darkness. It can also significantly cut down the risks of cataracts and macular degeneration, which is commonly associated with aging. It ensures healthy and beautiful eyes. It is also thought to be beneficial for people suffering from glaucoma.
Ensures Soft and Supple Skin: Vitamin A helps to keep your body free from free radicals and toxins, which might cause damage to your skin. It helps to keep the skin soft and supple by ensuring moisture retention, thereby preventing dryness, keratinization and skin conditions like psoriasis.
Strong Bones and Teeth: This essential vitamin also strengthens the bones and teeth. Vitamin A helps in the formation of dentin, a layer of hard material just below the surface of the teeth, thereby enhancing its strength.
Prevents Urinary Stones: Vitamin A prevents the formation of urinary calculi due to the formation of calcium phosphate. It also helps to keep the lining of the urinary tract in shape, thereby reducing the recurring chance of stones.
Prevents Muscular Dystrophy: By keeping the bones healthy and by retaining their shape, Vitamin A plays an essential role in ensuring proper muscle growth in children and growing teens, thereby preventing the chances of developing muscular dystrophy.
Prevents Acne: Vitamin A helps to cut down excess sebum production, thereby reducing the risk of acne. It also reinforces the protective tissues of the skin, thereby enhancing the overall health and vitality of the skin surface. It is essential for the proper maintenance of the skin tissues and mucus membranes. It flushes out the toxins from your body and cleanses the system by virtue of its antioxidant properties.
Prevents Certain Cancers: Vitamin A is also a powerful antioxidant, which can prevent certain forms of cancer.
Repair and Replacement of Old Tissues: Vitamin A plays an important role in replacing old and worn out tissues with new ones, as well as in keeping your bones and teeth strong.
Slows the Aging Process: Vitamin A is famous for its wrinkle-eliminating properties, which can reduce age spots and fine lines. It can slow down the aging process by enhancing the overall health of the skin.
Lowers Cholesterol: It lowers blood cholesterol levels, thereby protecting you against the serious risks of heart disease and stroke.
Healthy Reproductive System: This Vitamin is widely known for aiding the health and functionality of the reproductive system.
A Few Words of Caution: Vitamin A is required only in trace amounts and any excess quantity will be expelled by the body unabsorbed. Make sure to ensure a regular supply of the requisite quantity for best results. Its overdose can have detrimental symptoms such as blurred vision and nausea. Severe symptoms might include growth retardation, and an enlarged spleen and liver, among others.