Do You Have A Vitamin A Deficiency? Watch Out For Its Signs & Tips To Overcome It
If you're unable to meet your vitamin A needs through your diet alone, consider taking a vitamin A supplement under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Include fruits such as mangoes, apricots, and oranges, which are rich in beta-carotene
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is crucial for maintaining good vision, healthy skin, and a strong immune system. It is found in two forms: preformed vitamin A (retinol) and provitamin A carotenoids (beta-carotene). Preformed vitamin A is obtained from animal sources like liver, fish, dairy products, and eggs, whereas provitamin A carotenoids are found in plant-based foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and apricots.
Vitamin A deficiency occurs when the body doesn't receive enough of this essential nutrient. It primarily affects individuals in developing countries, especially in areas where malnutrition is prevalent. Common causes include a diet lacking in vitamin A-rich foods, poor absorption of vitamin A due to digestive disorders, and certain medical conditions.
Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a range of health issues and impairments, particularly related to vision. Keep reading as we list the many signs of a vitamin A deficiency and also share tips to overcome it.
Some common signs of vitamin A deficiency are:
- Difficulty adjusting to dim light or experiencing poor vision in low-light conditions.
- Dry, rough, or scaly skin. The skin loses moisture, becoming dry and flaky.
- White or greyish spots on the eyes' conjunctiva (membrane covering the whites of the eyes).
- Ulceration of the outermost layer of the eye (cornea), leading to eye redness, pain, and vision problems.
- A severe eye condition where the eyes become dry, inflamed, and susceptible to infections. It can cause progressive damage and even blindness if left untreated.
- Vitamin A deficiency weakens the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
Tips to help cure vitamin A deficiency:
- Include foods such as liver, fish, dairy products, eggs, and orange and yellow vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin in your diet.
- Incorporate leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens into your meals as they are good sources of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body.
- Include fruits such as mangoes, apricots, and oranges, which are rich in beta-carotene and can help increase your vitamin A levels.
- Look for fortified cereals, milk, and other food products that are enriched with vitamin A to help meet your daily requirements.
- If you're unable to meet your vitamin A needs through your diet alone, consider taking a vitamin A supplement under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
- Vitamin A can be destroyed by heat, so ensure proper cooking methods to retain its content in foods. Steaming or stir-frying vegetables lightly can help preserve the nutrients.
- Excessive alcohol intake can interfere with the absorption and utilisation of vitamin A, so limit your alcohol consumption or avoid it altogether.
- Smoking has been shown to decrease vitamin A levels, so quitting smoking can help maintain optimal vitamin A levels in your body.
- Some medications, such as certain acne medications, can interfere with the absorption and utilisation of vitamin A. Consult your doctor about potential vitamin A deficiencies caused by medication.
If you suspect a vitamin A deficiency, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis and appropriate treatment, which may involve vitamin A supplementation, dietary changes, or addressing the underlying causes.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a 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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