What is Vitamin A?
Vitamins are a group of substances needed in small amounts by the body to maintain health. Vitamins cannot be made by the human body and so they are an essential part of your diet. To know about Vitamin A you can read the whole article….
Vitamin A is important for healthy eyes and to help you fight infections. Vitamin A is sometimes also called retinol. Good sources of vitamin A include:
- Milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Oily fish.
- Fortified low-fat spreads.
A liver is a very good source of vitamin A. However, you will be at risk of having too much vitamin A if you eat liver more than once a week.
Another substance called beta-carotene can also be converted by your body to vitamin A. Good food sources of beta-carotene in your diet include:
- Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and red peppers, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
- Orange/yellow colored fruit – egg, mango, papaya and apricots.
What is a lack of Vitamin A?
A lack, of vitamin A in your body, happens because of a lack of sufficient amounts of vitamin A in your diet. Over time, a lack of vitamin A means that you may develop problems with vision and be less able to fight infections.
Causes of a lack of Vitamin A:
A lack of Vitamin A may be caused by prolonged inadequate intake of vitamin A. This is especially so when rice is the main food in your diet (rice doesn’t contain any carotene).
A lack of Vitamin A may also occur when your body is unable to make use of the vitamin A in your diet. This may occur in a variety of illnesses, including:
- Coeliac disease.
- Crohn’s disease.
- Giardiasis – an infection of the gut (bowel).
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Diseases affecting the pancreas.
- Liver cirrhosis.
- Obstruction of the flow of bile from your liver and gallbladder into your gut.
Symptoms are caused by lack of Vitamin A:
Here the symptoms of a lack of Vitamin A below: However, mild forms of a lack of vitamin A may cause tiredness (fatigue).
Both mild and severe forms of vitamin A may cause an increased risk of:
- Infections, including throat and chest infections, and gastroenteritis.
- Delayed growth and bone development in children and teenagers.
More severe forms of a lack of vitamin A may also cause:
Eye and vision problems
- Poor vision in the dark (night blindness).
- Thinning and ulceration of the cornea on the surface of the eyes (keratomalacia).
- Dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea on the surface of the eye (xerophthalmia).
- Oval, triangular or irregular foamy patches on the white of the eyes (called Bitot’s spots).
- Perforation of the cornea.
- Severe sight impairment (due to damage to the retina) at the back of the eye.
Skin and hair
Dry skin, dry hair, and itching (pruritus).
A regular intake of vitamin A-rich foods will usually prevent a lack of vitamin A as long as you do not have any long-term condition preventing your body from using the vitamin A in your diet. Liver, beef, chicken, eggs, whole milk, fortified milk, carrots, mangoes, orange fruits, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and other green vegetables are among foods rich in vitamin A.
Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day is recommended.
Various foods, such as breakfast cereals, pastries, bread, crackers and cereal grain bars, are often fortified with vitamin A.
For people at increased risk, especially young children, vitamin A supplements can reduce the risk of symptoms, permanent loss of vision, and the risk of dying.
- Liver, beef, chicken, eggs, whole milk, fortified milk, carrots, mangoes, orange fruits, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and other green vegetables are among foods rich in vitamin A.
- Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day is recommended in order to provide a comprehensive distribution of carotenoids.
- A variety of foods, such as breakfast cereals, pastries, bread, crackers and cereal grain bars, are often fortified with vitamin A.
- In at-risk populations, vitamin A supplements are associated with a reduction of morbidity, mortality, and blindness in young children aged 6 months to 5 years.
- There is, however, no convincing evidence that either maternal postpartum or infant vitamin A supplementation results in a reduction in infant mortality or morbidity in low- and middle-income countries.
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