Health

The Importance of Vitamin A

We all know that vitamins are essential; we all know they’re good for us but  we don’t always know which vitamin performs which function.

In this article we’re exploring Vitamin A, tell you why you need it and where to get it from.

Why Do I Need Vitamin A?

  • Vitamin A is part of a group of compounds called retinoids and is essential for growth, bone development, night vision, reproduction, and to fight infection. Your body also uses Vitamin A for growth, healthy skin and cells (epithelial) that line any opening to the body (nose, throat, lungs, mouth, stomach, intestines, vagina and urinary tract).
  • Absorption of vitamin A is dependent on fat from food sources and bile (cholesterol substance produced by your liver and stored by your gall bladder and used to break down fats, seeds and skins).
  • Your body can store two year’s worth of Vitamin A in your liver.
  • Supplements are rarely recommended for people with normal diets because of the risk of toxicity.

Deficiency:
Deficiencies of vitamin A can cause skin disorders and eye damage; in less developed countries severe deficiencies cause blindness: In milder cases, it can affect your ability to see or drive at night. Diets low in vitamin A may also increase the risk of developing cancer.


Toxicity:
Vitamin A can be very toxic when taken in high-dose supplements for long periods of time and can affect almost every part of the body, including eyes, bones, blood, skin, central nervous system, liver, and genital and urinary tracts.
Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, skin damage, mental disturbances, and, in women, infrequent periods. High consumption can also increase the risk of gastric cancer, and osteoporosis and fractures in women. Severe toxicity can cause blindness, liver damage and can be fatal.

In children, chronic overdose can cause fluid on the brain and other symptoms similar to those in adults. Pregnant women who take too much increase the risk for birth defects in their children.

Sources:

  • Fish oil
  • Liver (lamb, chick, turkey, beef)
  • Eggs (specifically the yolk)
  • Butter
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots (especially baby carrots)
  • Mango
  • Sweet Potato
  • Spinach
  • Cantaloupe
  • Squash
  • Milk
  • Mozzarella Cheese

Photo by Damir Mijailovic from Pexels

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