Health Benefits Of Vitamin A: Healthy Vision, Skin And Much More
Some of the most important functions of Vitamin A include slowing down the ageing process, building stronger bones and boosting immunity.
Vitamin A is important for the health of our eyes
- Vitamin A deficiency is more common in children
- Pregnant women require high dosages of Vitamin A
- Vitamin A is helpful in slowing down the ageing process
A powerful antioxidant and a fat soluble vitamin, Vitamin A plays an important role and there are many health benefits of vitamin A like maintaining a healthy vision, optimal neurological function, healthy skin and much more. Just the way most antioxidants work, Vitamin A too helps in reducing inflammation by fighting the harmful free radicals in the body. Other functions of Vitamin A include slowing down the ageing process, building stronger bones, boosting immunity and facilitating cell differentiation. Foods like spinach, carrots, leafy green veggies, eggs and milk are all good sources of Vitamin A.
Symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency
Some essential functions performed by Vitamin A include maintenance of normal vision, proper growth of bones, protection of mucous membranes against infections in the urinary, respiratory and digestive tracts among others. Malabsorption of fats can lead to deficiency of Vitamin A in the body.
Pancreatic disorders, leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases and other gluten sensitivity issues can cause malabsorption of Vitamin A - which in the long run can lead to Vitamin A deficiency.
Children are more prone to risks of Vitamin A than adults.
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1. Poor vision
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to thickening of cornea and even blindness. Kreatomalacia is a Vitamin A deficiency disease that can cause damage to both eyes. It leads to wrinkling of eyes, softening of corneas and cloudiness. If softening of corneas is left untreated, it can lead to infections in cornea, eye ruptures and changes in the degenerative tissue. All these conditions can ultimately cause blindness.
Vitamin A is important for a healthy vision
2. Premature skin damage
Skin conditions such as follicular thickening, scaling and drying are all symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency. It can also lead to keratinization of skin - a condition under which moisture is lost in the epithelial cells of the skin leaving it hard and dry. This occurs in the mucous membranes of urinary, gastrointestinal and respiratory tract.
3. Respiratory infections
Vitamin A deficiency can weaken the body's immune system. This can cause respiratory infections in the body.
4. Risks during pregnancy
Pregnant women need high dosage of Vitamin A. Being deficient in Vitamin A during pregnancy can cause night blindness.
Vitamin A is required in high dosages during pregnancy
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Here is a list of the any health benefits of Vitamin A:
1. Maintains health of eyes
Vitamin A is crucial for proper functioning of eyes. Vitamin A eye drops can be effective in dealing with dry eyes. Vitamin A has also been found to be effective in slowing down Stargardt's disease, which can cause loss of vision in young people.
2. Maintains immunity
Vitamin A is important for our body's immunity. Autoimmune diseases and conditions like cold and the flu can be dealt with by eating foods rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is more important for building immunity in children. Deficiency of Vitamin A in children can make them prone to infections like measles and diarrhoea.
Vitamin A helps in dealing with conditions like cold and flu
3. Fights inflammation
Antioxidant properties in Vitamin A help in fighting off the harmful free radicals in the body. These free radicals can cause damage to cells and tissues. Lack of sufficient Vitamin A can cause food allergies and inflammation. Food allergies are a result of overreaction of immune system to food porteins. Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkisnons's disease can be caused because of inflammation and Vitamin A deficiency.
4. Maintains skin health
Wound healing and regrowth of skin are two important functions performed by Vitamin A in the body. It also works as a strong aid against skin cancer. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to poor complexion and acne. It keeps wrinkles and skin lining at bay as it produces collagen. Presence of collagen also results in a younger looking skin. Vitamin A has also been proven beneficial for hair growth.
5. Helps prevent cancer
Vitamin A has the ability to control several malignant cells in the body. Retinoic acid is responsible for suppressing cancers of skin, lungs, breast, ovaries and bladder. It is the best to consume Vitamin A through natural food sources instead of taking Vitamin A supplements.
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Sources of Vitamin A
Carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, lettuce, apricots, broccoli, eggs and mango are considered to be good sources of Vitamin A.
Recommended intake of Vitamin A
You can meet Vitamin A requirements by consuming a balanced and healthy diet. People with digestive disorders are often suggested to have Vitamin A supplements. So, among children between 1 to 3 years of age, 300 micrograms (mcg) in day is required. Among 4-8 years of age, 400 mcg per day is required and among 9-13 years of age, 600 mcg per day is required.
Among adult females, who are 14 years old and above, 700 mcg per day is required. Pregnant women require around 740-770 mcg per day and breastfeeding women need 1,200 to 1,300 mcg of Vitamin A in a day.
Among men of 14 years and above, 900 mcg of Vitamin A is required in day.
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Side effects of Vitamin A
Consuming Vitamin A in excessive amounts can cause nausea, loss of appetite, jaundice, vomiting and hair loss. People suffering from a kidney or a liver disease or the ones who consumed alcohol regularly should avoid having supplements of Vitamin A. Also Vitamin A supplements may interact with birth control pills, cancer treatments or any other drugs. Consume Vitamin A supplements only after consulting your doctor.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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