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Vitamin A, Sources and Benefits

What is Vitamin A & its types?

Vitamin A is essential for your eyes and immune system. But it is not just these biological systems that benefit from Vitamin A, instead, multiple organ systems in the human body require Vitamin A for optimal functioning.

Usually of two types, it serves as an essential micronutrient for your body. Its two types include an already preformed vitamin A and a provitamin.

If your daily dietary intake comprises milk, poultry, and other meat products, these are good sources of preformed vitamin A.

But if your dietary intake consists of good amounts of vegetables and fruits including different plant-based products, then you are taking in provitamin A. Our body has suitable enzymatic systems that help convert provitamin A into its active form.

Vitamin A sources

  • Natural sources

This will include any naturally occurring food containing a rich supply of retinol (active Vitamin A) such as cheese, fish liver oil, milk, yogurt, and eggs.

Our body contains an intricate enzymatic mechanism that converts beta carotene (inactive Vitamin A compound) to active retinol.

Plenty of yellow, red, and green vegetables contain beta carotene as an essential ingredient in them. Leafy vegetables like spinach, carrots, and bell peppers (red, yellow, and green) are good examples of rich supplies of Vitamin A.

Some yellow fruits like mango, papaya, and apricots too have the beta carotene in abundance.

  • Artificial sources

Usually, artificial sources will include different multivitamin preparations.

There is also synthetic vitamin A currently in the market and exists as beta-ionone, retinyl acetate, or retinyl palmitate. These too are being used to supplement Vitamin A levels in the body.

Benefits of Vitamin A intake

An adult man ideally needs 900 ug, and an adult woman will need 700 ug of vitamin A daily for the normal functioning of the body. Though vitamin A is required in many enzymatic functions within the body, yet for this article we touch upon some broader benefits of vitamin A intake.    

  • Ocular/ophthalmic (eye-related) benefits

Vitamin A deficiency was found to be the cause of peripheral self-sealing ulcerative keratitis in a man through a study and upon treatment with retinol resolved completely hereby pointing out its role in maintaining a healthy eye.

Bitot’s spot, dry eyes, and night blindness are some of the symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency in humans.

A daily intake of vitamin A is thus, essential to maintain good eye function.

  • Immunity benefits

Vitamin A helps regulate the cellular and humoral immune response process apart from its crucial role in the development of the immune system. It has been shown to improve immune response to some vaccines.

  • Beneficial effects on health & skin

Several works of research have confirmed the effect of Vitamin A on aging skin. However, not only does the aging skin benefit from the use of Vitamin A but also normal skin benefits from its use. It is observed that Vitamin A is one of the many vitamins for maintaining a youthful looking skin even though it needs more studies to fully explore this.

            Conclusion

Vitamin A is an essential Vitamin available from dietary sources.  Supplements also supply varying amounts of this Vitamin.

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