Vitamin A plays a big role to promote healthy eyes and better vision, help fight infection and make your skin healthy. This vitamin is also called retinol.
Vitamin A was the first fat soluble vitamin to be discovered. Early observation by ancient Egyptians recognized that night blindness could be treated with consumption of liver. To independent research teams, Osborne and Mendel at Yale University and McCollum simultaneously discovered vitamin A in 1913. Vitamin A is made up of a family of compounds called the retinoid. The retinoid designation resulted from finding that vitamin A had the biological activity of retinol which was original isolated from the retina.
A vitamin A deficiency (VAD) or hypovitaminosis A, is lake of vitamin A in blood and tissues. It is common in poorer countries, but rarely is seen in more developed countries. Nyctalopia (night blindness) is one of the first sign of V.A.D.
Role of vitamin A
- Vitamin A is required for the maintenance of normal vision.
- A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to visual disturbance.
Types of vitamin A nutrient
There are two types of vitamin A nutrient, the first one is called performed vitamin A which is also known as retinol and is found in animal products like milk, egg and liver. These can be used by the body directly.
The other type is provitamin A or the carotenoids, are found in fruit and vegetables and needs to be converted by the body into retinol. Beta-carotene is the most important carotenoid as it converts more yellow and orange coloured fruits like mango, pawpaw, a picot and vegetables such as carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli.
Causes of vitamin A deficiency
- Malnutrition is one of the biggest reason why many people specifically children suffers vitamin A deficiency.
- If the body is unable to absorb well vitamin A, then deficiency is possible
- Massive urine excretion can also cause vitamin A deficiency.
- Hepatic patients may also develop deficiency in vitamin A due to the inability of the body to store vitamin A.
Signs and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency
- Poor vision at night or in dim light
- Dry eyes
- Eye inflammation
- Skin dryness
- Ache, dry and scaly skin
- Dandruff and dry hair
NOTE: The dead cells can build up on the conjunctiva and resembles like debris that may cause blindness or other infections.
Note:- The daily recommended amount of vitamin A for adult it is 0.6mg for woman and 0.7mg for man.
Your doctor will start by asking you about your symptoms and medical history. They will also want to know about your diets and supplements you taking.
Your doctor may order blood tests to check the level of vitamin A in your blood as well
Treatment of vitamin A deficiency
- The initial treatment for mild deficiency is to follow a diet that is rich in vitamin A. likewise you should also eat dark green vegetable as they contain good amount of carotene that helps your body to fully absorb vitamin A.
- Food that is fortified with vitamin A also helps to prevent or treat the deficiency, margarine (butter) and cooking oil are usually fortified.
- If taking food rich in vitamin A is not sufficient, you can take supplement orally.
Vitamin A deficiency can be prevented by eating foods that are rich source of vitamin A. some of the foods that you can include in your diet are beef, liver, chicken, milk, egg, fortified milk, mangos, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach and green vegetables.
Vitamin A is important in order to keep the eye from ocular disorder which may result in night blindness and dryness of the eye.