Vitamin A Function And Benefits

Vitamin A Function And Benefits


What is Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is the name of a group of essential fat-soluble compounds. Vitamin A is critical for many functions within your body, such as your vision, immune system, reproduction system, and healthy growth.

Vitamin A has two forms: Preformed Vitamin A (retinoids) and Provitamin A (carotenoids).

Preformed vitamin A is found in food sources from animals such as fish, meat (especially liver), eggs, and dairy. This form of vitamin A is known as the active form which can be used immediately by your body.

Provitamin A is found in vegetables and fruits. This form of vitamin A is known as the inactive form, which is not readily available for use as your body must convert the carotenoids to the active form of vitamin A (retinol).

Your body's ability to convert carotenoids to retinol depends on factors such as genetics, medical condition, medications, and alcohol use. However, most healthy individuals should be perfectly fine.

You should be able to get all the Vitamin A you need from your diet. Any Vitamin A your body doesn't require immediately will get stored for future use.

If you cannot get enough Vitamin A from your diet, then, supplemental forms of Vitamin A can be purchased online and do not require any prescription. However, we highly recommend that you seek advice from your doctor before buying any supplements online.

Please Note

Supplemental forms of Vitamin A can be purchased online and do not require any prescription. However, we highly recommend that you seek advice from your doctor before buying any supplements.

Always seek advice from a qualified health professional if you are in doubt.

This article has been written for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a replacement for professional advice.



Quick facts about Vitamin A:
  • Recommended Daily Intake:
    • 0.9 mg | For adults and children over 4 years old.
    • 0.3 mg | For children between 1 and 3 years old.
    • 0.5 mg | For infants up to 12 months old.
    • 1.3 mg | For pregnant women and lactating women.
  • Too much vitamin A can be toxic:
    Consuming more Vitamin A than your recommended daily intake can be toxic and may affect your bones, increasing the risk of fractures when you are older.

  • Vitamin A can be found in:
    Vegetables & fruits, meat, eggs, and dairy.







1. Essential For Eye Health And Vision

Vitamin A plays a vital role in vision and eye health. It functions by converting light into electrical data signaling your brain, which enables your eyes to adjust in different environments such as day and night.

A deficiency of Vitamin A may cause a night blindness condition known as nyctalopia. This condition may not affect your vision throughout the day, but during the night, your eyes may not be able to adapt to reduced illumination.

If you think you may have developed nyctalopia, then you may need to get examined by your doctor as this condition can have many causes other than a Vitamin A deficiency.

In most cases, nyctalopia can get treated successfully.

Summary

Vitamin A is essential for maintaining your vision and eye health. A deficiency may cause a night blindness condition called "nyctalopia."




2. Supports The Immune System

Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory properties and is essential for your body's natural defense system to function correctly. It helps to confine bacteria and prevent infections from developing.

A deficiency in this vitamin may weaken your immunity, increase your sensitivity to infections, and alter the function of blood cells. This may lead to many health implications and even increase the risk of death in some cases.

Some studies have also linked obesity as a possible factor in the risk of developing a Vitamin A deficiency. Therefore, if you are obese and worried about your Vitamin A levels, we highly recommend getting a checkup by your doctor to prevent any health implications from rising.

Summary

Vitamin A is crucial for your immune system to function rightly. A deficiency may weaken your immunity, increase your sensitivity to infections, and cause many other health implications.




3. Supports Bone Health

Vitamin A is vital for healthy bone growth and development. Not getting enough Vitamin A can reduce your bone health and increase the risk of experiencing fractures.

Studies have concluded that high doses of Preformed Vitamin A can also increase the risk of fractures. However, the same effect may not occur on the overconsumption of Provitamin A since your body will only convert the carotenoids to the active form when necessary to maintain its balance.

It is essential that you consume an equivalent amount of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin A daily to prevent deficiency or toxicity from occurring.

Summary

Vitamin A is vital for maintaining bone health. An imbalance of Vitamin A can reduce your bone health and increase the risk of experiencing fractures.




4. Promotes Healthy Growth And Reproduction

Vitamin A is required for both gender reproduction systems to function correctly.

In men, studies have shown that Vitamin A deficiency affects the sperm production process and therefore increases the risk of infertility.

In women, a deficiency of Vitamin A (depending on the severity) can interfere with the conception process, the healthy growth and development of embryos during pregnancy.

It is vital for both genders to consume a diet that contains a fair amount of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin A to maintain regular fertilization.

Summary

Vitamin A is essential for the reproduction system of both genders. A deficiency can affect the sperm production process in men and the conception process in women.




5. Promotes Healthy Skin

Vitamin A helps your skin in many ways. It can improve problematic skin conditions such as acne and also significantly improve fine lines and wrinkles on your face.

Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory properties and supports skin cell growth, which is beneficial for healing scars, lesions, and skin conditions.

Studies have suggested that Oral vitamin A is generally not considered useful in the treatment of acne unless it's taken in high doses, which can cause toxicity. However, a topical solution of vitamin A has shown effectiveness.

Summary

Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory properties and supports skin cell growth, which promotes healthy skin and can improve problematic skin conditions such as acne. However, a deficiency may make skin conditions worse.




6. Deficiency Side Effects

A deficiency of Vitamin A can occur based on the following factors:

  • Poor diet

  • Obesity

  • Alcohol abuse

A deficiency can:

  • Cause Night Blindness (known as nyctalopia)

  • Cause Severe Anaemia

  • Weaken Immune System

  • Weaken Bone Health

  • Affect Fertility In Men and Women

  • Increase Risk Of Developing Skin Conditions

  • Increase risk of mortality




7. Toxicity Side Effects

Vitamin A is fat-soluble and therefore, can be stored by your body for later use. High consumption of Vitamin A can be toxic and also cause serious side effects.

Toxicity usually occurs at doses ten times higher than the recommended daily intake (RDI).

Toxicity can:

  • Affect your vision

  • Affect your brain and cause confusion

  • Cause headaches

  • Cause joint and bone pain

  • Reduce appetite

  • Cause dry or itchy skin

  • Increase your sensitivity to sunlight

  • Cause hairloss!




8. Conclusion

Vitamin A is essential for many vital functions of your body, including your vision, immune system, growth, development, and reproduction system.

A deficiency of Vitamin A is not common in developed countries. However, factors such as a poor diet, alcohol consumption, and obesity can increase the risk of developing a deficiency.

If you are concerned about your Vitamin A levels, we highly recommend that you seek advice from your healthcare provider.