Benefits of Vitamin A

Did you know how beneficial Vitamin A is for your body? It maintains your vision, immune system, growth, and development. Like other vitamins, vitamin A is essential for the body. It is helpful in growth and development, cell recognition, normal vision, healthy teeth, soft tissue, skin, mucus membranes, immune system functionality, and reproduction. It also helps in the optimal functioning of essential organs of the body such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and some other organs. It produces retinol in the retina of the eye. It improves your vision, especially in low light. If you develop its deficiency, it can cause night blindness and several other problems.  

You should include vitamin A in your diet to prevent its deficiency and to maintain normal functions. The best sources of vitamin A are – cheese, oily fish, milk, yogurt, red and green vegetables, etc.  

Types of Vitamin A 

Different forms of vitamin A are found in various food items: 

  • Preformed vitamin A: It is found in meat, fish, or dairy products. The body can absorb them easily and directly.  
  • Provitamin A: it is present in fruits, vegetables, or other plant-based products.  
  • Also known as carotenoids, to digest them, your body needs healthy fats to convert these inactive forms into another (active) form of vitamin A which is retinol.  
  • Another form of provitamin is beta-carotene, which is found in plants, especially dark-colored fruits, vegetables, and oily fruits. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant, but the body also converts vitamin A into beta-carotene as needed. 
  • Retinol: this is an active form of vitamin A found in the blood and is commonly stored in the form of Retinyl palmitate by your body.  

Benefits of Vitamin A 

  1. Maintain normal vision and prevent age-related decline: Vitamin A is essential for eyesight. Our eyes need this vitamin to convert the light (that creates a reflection in our eye) into an electrical signal sent to our brain. Vitamin A is an essential component of the pigment rhodopsin. This pigment is found in the retina (part of the eye) and is extremely sensitive to light. People with night blindness struggle to see things at night. Eating the right amount of beta-carotene can reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related muscular degeneration (AMD) as well. 
  2. Strengthens your immune system: It supports white blood cells and mucus membranes in your lungs, intestines, and urinary tract. It keeps off infection and toxins such as free radicals that cause inflammation and disease. Giving vitamin A supplements or medication to children that have measles or malaria has seen a reduction in the symptoms of the disease and saved many lives.  
  3. Lower the risk of cancer: According to some studies, considerable amounts of beta-carotene or vitamin A found in plant food can protect you from certain types of cancer such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  
  4. Protect your skin: Vitamin A is effective in reducing acne and age-related skin problems such as wrinkles and age spots. Even skin treatment creams and pills also contain vitamin A. If you consume too little vitamin A it can block your sweat glands which increases the risk of developing acne. But consuming too much vitamin A can lead to discoloring your skin and making it dry.  
  5. Keep your teeth and bones strong: Vitamin A also keeps your bone and teeth strong and lowers your risk of injury and disability. But you should consume vitamin A within limits otherwise it can also be harmful such as it can lead to fractures or osteoporosis.  

 Health risks from consuming too much Vitamin A 

While vitamin A is beneficial but if you consume it too much it can cause many problems such as: 

  • Pro-vitamin A can be toxic if you consume more than what’s recommended for your age.  
  • Hypervitaminosis A: It is a toxic condition that happens when you consume too much-preformed vitamin A/ supplements. It gives symptoms like a change of skin color, cracked skin on fingers, dry lips, mouth, and nose which increase the risk of infection. It is dangerous for pregnant women as it is harmful to the baby.  
  • Isotretinoin toxicity: This condition is caused by vitamin A toxicity due to the overuse of retinol-based medications. It can cause severe acne. And it is not recommended for pregnant women.  
  • Interactions: Ask your doctor if vitamin A pills are safe if you take any medications. Some birth control pills, blood thinners, oral acne medications, cancer treatments, and a wide range of other medications may interact with vitamin A supplements. 
  • Other Risks: Take no more vitamin A than the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) unless your doctor advises you to. High vitamin A intake has been linked to liver issues, decreased bone density, and birth abnormalities. Without first consulting a doctor, people who drink excessively or have kidney or liver disease shouldn’t use vitamin A supplements. 

Recommended Intake 

Vitamin A supplements should be taken according to age. As it is available in several forms it is measured by retinol activity equivalents (RAEs). It can vary between kids, adults, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women.  

Recommended daily allowances of vitamin A by age are as follows: 

  • up to 6 months: 400 mcg 
  • 7–12 months: 500 mcg 
  • 1–3 years: 300 mcg 
  • 4–8 years: 400 mcg 
  • 9–13 years: 600 mcg 
  • 14+ years: 900 mcg for males and 700 mcg for females 

During pregnancy, the daily intake of vitamin A is 770 mcg and during breastfeeding, it is 1300 mcg per day. 

Vitamin A is very beneficial for the body as it is important for your vision, immune system, skin, reproduction, growth, and development. But you must take the right amount of vitamin A from plant food, dairy products, fish, supplements, and medication to prevent its deficiency and complications.  

If you want to know about other vitamins too, call us on 718-DORAL-55 or 1-347-384-5690 to get a consultation. Doral Health & Wellness is easily accessible by bus, taxi, or subway. Walk in for an appointment at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11212.