Importance of Vitamin A
March 6, 2009
Importance of vitamin A
It is actually a group of compounds which is soluble in fat and is responsible for healthy vision, cell reproduction and growth. It helps in the generation of leucocytes and in the process protects the inner lining of the lungs and the intestinal tract. It also keeps the immune system working.
Vitamin A is of 2 types
1. Preformed Vitamin A – it is absorbed in the body by the direct intake of meat and eggs.
2. Carotenoids – they are present in fruits and vegetables and the body converts them into retinol as they cannot be absorbed directly. Beta-carotene is a very important form of carotenoid which can prevent even fatal diseases like cancer.
Symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency is not that common because adults generally have a reserved store of this vitamin. It is stored in the liver and other fatty parts of the body. Its deficiency may cause hair loss, bone abnormalities, retarded growth, hyperkeratosis, susceptibility to viral infections, night blindness etc.
Vitamin A toxicity
Too much of vitamin A storage is not good for the body. This condition is called Hypervitaminosis A. it may lead to congenital defects, low density of bone minerals, CNS disorders etc. In case of acute toxicity there may be fatigue, weakness, headache, anemia, schizophrenia etc.
Amount of Vitamin A needed
Physicians have charted out Recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin A according to sex and age. The chart is as follows
o Below 3 years – 300 mcg/day
o 4-8 years – 400 mcg/day
o 9-13 years – 600 mcg/day
o Above 14 years – 900 mcg/day
o Pregnant women (below 18) – 750mcg/day
o Preganant women (above 18) – 770mcg/day
o Lactating woman (below 18) – 1200mcg/day
o Lactating women (above 18) – 1300mcg/day
Food sources of this vitamin
Foods rich in Vitamin A include cod liver oil, carrots, spinach, pumpkins, baked sweet potato, broccoli and ofcourse meat and eggs.
People who are more susceptible to Vitamin A deficiency include the vegetarians, alcohol drinkers, those having digestive disases and pancreatic disorders and children.
How to increase your Vitamin A storage
Eating meat, eggs and other foods rich in Vitamin A will improve your Vitamin A storage. Also cut down on alcohol and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables regularly.