Herbal Supplements
Vitamin A: General Information

  1. What it is

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for many systems of the human body. In fact, vitamin A is a name used to denote a group of compounds, such as retinol, retinal, retinoic acid and a number of carotenoids.

Vitamin A in food sources exists in two main forms: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A carotenoid. Preformed vitamin A is absorbed into our bodies in its most active form – retinol; it can later be transformed into retinal or retinoic acid. Provitamin A is a precursor of the actual vitamin A. It is consumed in the form of carotenoids and then it is turned into retinol by our bodies. From the large family of carotenes only about 50 compounds are provitamin A, the most valuable of which are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. 

Sincevitamin A is fat-soluble, its absorption in the body depends on the levels of lipids, and thus, on the amount of fats available in the diet. Consequently, vegetarians and vegans are at the greater risk of vitamin A deficiency.

  1. What it does in the body

Practically, every tissue and even every cell needs vitamin A for its normal functioning. This nutrient plays an important role in the health of the skin, being capable of reducing the size and secretion of the sebaceous glands (that is why retinoids are used in the acne treatment). Vitamin A is essential for the healthy vision, since its helps detect small amounts of light, especially, in the dusk, thus it protects from night blindness.  

Immune system activity would not be effective without vitamin A support: it ensures healthy development of white blood cells and killer-cells, which are aimed at fighting off viruses, bacteria, and other harmful invaders.

In fact, vitamin A is necessary for the cells differentiation – a process during which a cell becomes a part of a certain organ or tissue (brain, skin, blood, etc.) Retinoids are crucial for the formation of red blood cells; they also help iron stored in the body incorporate with red blood cells to form hemoglobin.  

Vitamin A is also essential for the development of the fetus, although, its overdose is very dangerous. Retinoids aid in wound healing, as well as in hair growth and its health.

  1. Sources of vitamin A

The main sources of ready-to-consume or preformed vitamin A are animalproducts: liver, butter, whole milk, whole milk cheese, whole milk yogurt and eggs. Carrots, green leafy vegetables, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, mangos, peaches, pumpkin, papaya and peas are good foods to eat to obtain provitamin A.

It is worthy to note that these days scientists tend to state that fruits and vegetables may not be as useful for acquiring vitamin A as it has been thought before. Consequently, healthy diet with adequate consumption of animal products is the best way to get enough vitamin A.

  1. What happens in case of retin deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency may be either primary or secondary. Primary one is a result of the low intake of foods containing retinoids. Secondary deficiency may be caused by a number of events, as lipids imbalance in the body, low-fat dieting, improper production of bile, and exposure to antioxidants. Low amounts of zinc may also cause malabsorption of vitamin A.

Impaired level of retin in the human organism may result in the worsening of vision, especially in the reduced light (night blindness); skin infections and acne; growth retardation and weight loss; as well as malfunctioning of the reproductive system and thyroid gland.

Weakening of the immune system may also be the result of vitamin A deficiency. Consequently, high risk of various infections is present. Moreover, studies indicate that low rate of retinoids may be connected with the development of several forms of cancer (lung, head, and neck cancers).

Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include vision problems, retarded growth, dry skin, susceptibility to infections. Risks of heart diseases also increases in case of low amount of vitamin A in the body, scholars confirm.

  1. What happens in case of vitamin A overdose

Overdose of this vitamin is very dangerous, because it is not easy for the organism to get rid of the access retin, since it is fat-soluble. Such elements need more time and effort to be eliminated from the body in contrast to water-soluble vitamins.

Therefore, toxic levels of vitamin A may cause such symptoms as nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, blurry vision, headache, jaundice, muscle aches and abdominal cramps, irritability, overall weakness and even altered mental status. Skin itching and irritation are often observed in case of retinoids overdose. It may also result in the liver damage.

One of the most studied and well-known results of vitamin A excess in the body is deformation of the developing fetus of a pregnant woman who exceeds the permissible intake of the vitamin. No wonder, physicians always closely monitor the consumption of any supplements and drugs containing vitamin A by pregnant women.

About Vitamin A

Vitamin A Medicinal Uses

1.      Conditions improved by a supplement Prevention of vitamin A deficiency is often the ...

Your Feedback for This Article :

Send us your experience or opinion that we may publish on this site.

Your Nick :

Spam Protection: Fill-in following 4-digit code:

Your message ( HTML is not accepted ) :

About Vitamin A

Vitamin A Medicinal Uses

1.      Conditions improved by a ...

© 2017 Chinese Herbs & Co. All rights reserved.