Vitamin A Deficiency—Causes, Symptoms, and Consequences
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in vision, reproduction, and immune function. This blog post will explore vitamin A deficiency and the symptoms that might indicate your body isn't getting enough of it. We'll also go over some foods rich in vitamin A so you can keep an eye on how much you consume each day!
What is vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an essential nutrient for the body. It's found in many foods, including carrots and other root vegetables, fish liver oil, egg yolks, and butterfat. This vitamin aids in maintaining healthy vision, skin, and bones. As a result of its importance to the body's health — especially to your eyes — deficiencies can be serious business. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness or complete blindness if left untreated over time; it also causes dry skin and roughness on your tongue due to decreased saliva production (which stops once you've become deficient).
Types of vitamin A
Retinol. Also known as preformed vitamin A, this is the most common form of vitamin A and can be found in animal products such as liver, fish oil, egg yolk, and dairy products.
Retinal. This type of carotenoid is bound to proteins and serves as an intermediate form between retinol and retinoic acid (a metabolite). It can also be found in animal products like eggs or shellfish.
Retinoic acid (also called tretinoin or all-trans retinoic acid). This active form of vitamin A stimulates cell growth when applied topically on the skin. Still, it isn't readily available through diet because it doesn't occur naturally in foods other than the liver or fish roe (eggs).
How much vitamin A do I need?
You need vitamin A to protect your vision, support your immune system, keep bones strong and healthy, and assisted reproduction. Vitamin A is found in animal products such as dairy products and chicken eggs. In addition to these food sources, the body can produce vitamin A from beta-carotene—a compound found in plants like carrots or sweet potatoes.
Vitamin A deficiency may cause night blindness and slowed growth; however, it's not uncommon for children to develop vitamin A lack after having measles or a respiratory infection because their bodies burn through stored nutrients during illness.
Vitamin A toxicity can lead to liver disease and congenital disabilities if too much of this nutrient is consumed over an extended period (as little as 3–6 months). The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults is 900 micrograms (mcg) per day; pregnant women should increase their intake by 770 mcg per day, while lactating mothers require 1,300 mcg per day.
Benefits of vitamin A
The benefits of vitamin A include:
We are maintaining healthy skin and mucous membranes.
Promoting healing and tissue repair
Preventing certain types of cancer, especially lung cancer in smokers and oesophageal cancer (cancer of the gullet)
Food sources of vitamin A
Vitamin A is found in many foods, including:
Peppers (red, green, and orange)
Cantaloupe and other fruit such as papaya, mangoes and apricots.
Some animal products contain vitamin A but are not necessarily good sources since they may also have saturated fat or cholesterol. These include cheese, whole milk, butterfat from dairy products, beef liver, and dark-meat fish like cod or tuna. However, there are non-animal sources of preformed vitamin A that you can use to ensure your body has enough:
1. Fortified foods, such as cereals and juices 2. Supplements
3. Carotenoids, which are found in dark leafy greens, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
What happens if you don't get enough vitamin A?
If you don't get enough vitamin A, your risk of severe health problems can increase. For example, if you're deficient in vitamin A and become pregnant or are breastfeeding a baby, it can cause congenital disabilities such as cleft palate or cleft lip.
Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States, but it can occur in people who eat a diet lacking vitamin-A-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens and carrots. People who eat very little food also may develop a deficiency because their bodies need more nutrients than they are getting to stay healthy.
Can you get too much vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in your body. This means that even if you consume too much at once, the excess won't be stored in your body for months or years, like water-soluble vitamins (B6 and C). It will just be excreted out through urine.
However, since vitamin A is essential for healthy eyesight and growth, it's important not to overeat it. If consumed in high amounts over a long period (more than 10% of your daily recommended value), toxicity can occur. This can lead to bone loss, congenital disabilities, and liver damage. In some cases, it could even be fatal.
Vitamin A plays a vital role in many bodily functions!
Vitamin A plays a vital role in many bodily functions. It helps with vision, bone growth, and immune function. Vitamin A deficiency has been shown to cause blindness and increases the risk of infections and some cancers. But don't worry—vitamin A lack is rare in the United States!
Most people get enough vitamin A from their diet, but some groups are more likely to develop a deficiency:
Women who are pregnant or nursing
Children under five years old (especially those between 6-12 months)
People over age 50
We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of Vitamin A in the body. It plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including vision, reproduction, and immune function. If you are not getting enough vitamin A from your diet, you must increase it or supplement it with a multivitamin that contains enough of this vitamin!