Vitamin A

Benefits And Sources

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Introduction

Vitamin A is a group of fat-soluble retinoids, including retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters. It has strong antioxidant properties which protect your cells against free radicals.

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Eyesight

This vitamin is best known for its role in optimal eye health and vision. As per studies, it helps reduce the risk of night blindness and advanced macular degeneration.

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Other benefits

Optimum intake of vitamin A can also help boost immunity, bone health and hair growth. It is also essential for reproductive health as well as foetal development.

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Vitamin A is also commonly used to fight acne and other skin conditions effectively. Several studies also suggest that it may lower the risk of certain cancers.

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Daily requirement

The recommended daily requirement of vitamin A according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is 900 mcg and 700 mcg for men and women, respectively.

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Requirement for mothers

Pregnant women require 770 mcg of vitamin A daily. While lactating mothers should consume 1,300 mcg in a day. Source: NIH

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Deficiency

According to WHO, vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children and increases the risk of disease and death from severe infections.

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Deficiency symptoms

Dry skin, night blindness, dry eyes, trouble in conceiving, frequent infections, delayed healing of wounds and breakouts are some signs of vitamin A deficiency.

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Sources

Vitamin A is available in both plant and animal-based foods. It is present in two different forms- preformed vitamin A (found in animal sources) and provitamin A carotenoids (plant sources).

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Preformed vitamin A

Also known as retinol and vitamin A1 is found in cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, eggs, butter, cheese and other dairy products.

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Provitamin A sources

Plant sources of vitamin A are carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, red pepper, mango and papaya.

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Supplements

If you experience symptoms of vitamin A deficiency, get your levels checked and seek medical help accordingly. Do not take supplements without consulting an expert.

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Vitamin A toxicity

Consumption of too much vitamin A is called hypervitaminosis. It can lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, irritability, poor appetite, bone pain and vision changes.

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