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Vitamin A is an essential antioxidant that acts as a hormone in the body. The Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements quotes that vitamin A helps in our growth and development, cell regeneration, vision, immune function and reproduction. This vital vitamin also affects our genes and thereby influences our physical characteristics. This active vitamin is found in multiple sources like fruits, vegetables, fish, dairy and plants. It can also be made in laboratories.
What Is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is a health accelerator for our body. From improving our vision and bones to fighting damaged cells, this antioxidant maintains the functioning of our body.
Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease states that vitamin A is found in different forms. Retinol is a preformed form of vitamin A found in animal products like meat, fish and dairy products. Retinyl is a predominant and active form of vitamin A that is found in the blood. Beta-carotene is a pro-vitamin A that is found in plant-based food like fruits and vegetables.
Benefits Of Vitamin A Capsules
Vitamin A tablets are not only responsible for proper development and functioning of our body parts but are also a shield against multiple health conditions. Let’s take a look at some the most important benefits as follows:
Benefits Of Vitamin A For Health
1. Improves Eye-sight
One of the first few symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness. According to National Eye Institute, retinol not just creates the pigments in the retina of the eye but is also integral for good vision especially night vision and your eye’s overall health.
2. Might Lower The Risk Of Cancer
Sufficient intake of carotenoids, carotene and vitamins is associated with a lower risk of lung cancer by inhibiting the growth and development of cancer cells. Various Meta-analysis and vol. 1 of Nature Reviews Cancer suggest that some forms of vitamin A can protect you from prostate, breast and colon cancer.
3. Treats Diabetes
Retinoic acid is said to normalize blood sugar, thereby treating type 2 diabetes. It was also discovered under the Endocrine Journal 2017 that insulin producing beta-cells contain a large quantity of a cell surface receptor for vitamin A.
4. Promotes A Healthy Reproduction System
Vitamin A helps in maintaining a healthy reproductive system in both men and women. It also helps in growth and development of the embryo. The Department of Community Medicine under the University of Khartoum also states that vitamin A can reduce the risk of diarrhea in malnourished women after they give birth.
Benefits Of Vitamin A For Skin
1. Repairs Skin
Vitamin A helps the skin grow and repair itself. NYC Surgical Associates state that vitamin A infused medication is often used to treat acne and other skin conditions. Cell regeneration helps make your skin look young and fresh.
2. Provides Photoprotection
Vitamin A is infused with retinoid, which prevents damage from ultraviolent rays. Oregon State University suggests that adequate intake of vitamin A can diffuse the effects of photodamage by interfering with the UVR.
3. Reduces Signs Of Aging
Sun-exposed skin usually faces early signs of aging including wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, freckles, acne, roughness and more. Dr. J. Dermatol talks about a study that proves that retinoid can lead to potential improvement in photodamaged skin.
4. Increases Wound Healing
Vitamin A deficiency often leads to an impaired immune system and thereby, delaying the process of wound healing. The University of Oregon State suggests that Vitamin A can modulate and strengthen wound healing when clubbed with cortisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid.
Other functions of vitamin A include the formation and maintenance of bones, tissues, teeth and the overall immune system.
Deficiency Of Vitamin A
Vitamin A deficiency is often found in poorer countries with improper eating habits. Some of the major causes of Vitamin A deficiency are dietary problems, lack of iron in the body and excess alcohol consumption. This makes it important to rely on supplements if the case gets severe. Symptoms of severe vitamin A deficiency are night blindness, dry eyes, diarrhoea, poor wound healing, infections and other skin issues. The World Health Organization also suggests that low vitamin A levels results in various physiological implications including tissue development, metabolism and resistance of infections.
Risks And Precautions When Consuming Vitamin A Capsules
The intake of vitamin A capsules is safe unless the dosage exceeds 10,000 units per day. Overconsumption of the same can be toxic. According to the Harvard T.H., School of Public Health preformed vitamin A might increase the risk of bone loss, hip fracture and birth defects. Some of the side effects of long-term use of vitamin A are as follows:
- Mental changes
- Stomach discomfort, vomiting and nausea
- Vision problems
- Peeling skin
If the side effects start to show, do not wait for them to get severe and immediately consult a doctor.
Special precautions and warnings should be followed as well:
- Overdose of vitamin A can result in osteoporosis in older people.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not consume more than 10,000 units of vitamin A per day. Large amounts of the same can cause birth defects.
- Excessive alcohol consumption increases vitamin A’s potential to harm the liver.
- People suffering from conditions related to fat absorption are unable to absorb vitamin A properly. To improve the intake of the vitamin, these people should opt for water-soluble preparations.
- People suffering from type V hyperlipoproteinemia should not consume vitamin A.
- Malnutrition can lead to excess vitamin A in the body.
How To Consume Vitamin A?
Fruits and vegetables are natural supplements of vitamin A while many cereals, juices, dairy products and other foods are fortified with retinol. These may include vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and fruits like oranges. Beef, fish oils, milk, eggs, tomatoes, sweet potato, mango and bell peppers are other sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin A can also be taken in the form of capsules, which must be swallowed without breaking or chewing unless directed to do so by the doctor. These must be taken in appropriate units or micrograms as per age and body condition. The Department of Health and Human Services has devised the following amounts of dosage for each age group:
- 600 mcg per day for up to 3 years
- 900 mcg per day for 4-8 years
- 1700 mcg per day for 9-13 years
- 2800 mcg per day for 14-18 years
- 3000 mcg per day for 19 years and above
Some Fun Facts About Vitamin A
- Carrots are the most popular and rich source of vitamin A.
- The liver of any animal is the most effective source of vitamin A in a non-vegetarian diet.
- Carotenoid is an orange pigment responsible for the colour of certain fruits and vegetables.
- Retinol is also known as vitamin A1.
- The discovery of vitamin A is said to date back to a research held in 1816 by Francois Magendie.
Vitamin A comes in the form of retinoic acid, retinal and retinol, which are bioavailable. These play a vital role in the growth, reproduction, development and functioning of different body parts leading to a healthy immune system. You can find these in animals, fruits, vegetables, dairies and more. However, sometimes even with a healthy diet, this vitamin becomes insufficient in the body. Opting for vitamin A capsules come in play for better and adequate consumption for a healthy you.