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Vitamins A Supplements
Vitamin A is considered as anti-infective Vitamin responsible for fighting disease. It is a fat soluble Vitamin and an essential nutrient for growth and survival. In its natural from it is found in animal fats.
Vitamin A constitutes a family of compounds generally known as retinols. They have a critical role in vision, cell different and maintenance of epithelial cell integrity. The two active metabolites are retinal, the active element of visual pigment and retinoic acid, and intracellular messenger that modulates cells differentiation.
• It plays a vital role in normal vision.
• It is required for upkeep of epithelial cells i.e., mucous membrane, skin etc.
• It helps in skeletal growth.
• It protects against microbial infections in body.
• It also helps in wound healing.
• It helps in reproduction and gene expression.
• It also acts as antioxidant.
• It plays crucial role in learning by effecting hippocampus cells.
• It helps in promoting healthy hair, teeth, and gums.
• It helps in enhancing permeability of blood capillaries for better tissue oxygenation
• It is also essential for night vision.
Natural Sources of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is widely distributed in animal and plant foods –in animal foods are preformed vitamin A (retinol), and in plant foods are pro-vitamins (carotenes).
• Animal Foods: Foods rich in retinol are liver, eggs, butter, cheese, whole milk, fish and meat. Fish liver oils are the richest natural sources of retinol.
• Plant foods: The cheapest source of Vitamin A is green leafy vegetables such as spinach amaranth. The darker the green leaves, the higher its carotene content. Vitamin A also occurs in most green yellow fruits and vegetables (e.g. papaya, mango, pumpkin) and in some roots (e.g., carrots).
• Fortified foods: Foods fortified with vitamin A (e.g. vanaspathi, margarine, milk) can be an important source.
Daily requirement of Vitamin A
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin A is 750 micrograms for adults.
Vitamin A Deficiency
The signs of vitamin A deficiency are predominantly ocular. They include night blindness, conjunctival xerosis, Bitot’s spots, corneal xerosis and keratomalacia.
• Night blindness: Lack of vitamin A first causes night blindness or inability to see in dim light. Night blindness is due to impairment in dark adaptation.
• Conjunctional xerosis: In this the conjunctiva becomes dry and non-wet table. Instead of looking smooth and shiny, it appears muddy and wrinkled.
• Bitot’s Spots: Bitot’s spots are triangular, pearly-white or yellowish, foamy spots on the bulbar conjunctiva on either side of cornea. They are frequently bilateral. Bitot’s spots in young children usually indicate vitamin A deficiency.
• Corneal xerosis: This stage is particularly serious. The cornea appears dull, dry and non-wet table and eventually opaque. The ulcer may heal leaving a corneal scar which can affect vision.
• Keratomalacia: Keratomalacia or liquefaction of the cornea is a grave medical emergency. The cornea (a part or the whole) may soft and may burst open. The process is a rapid one. If the eye collapses, vision is lost.
Vitamin A in Excess
• An excess intake of retinol causes nausea, vomiting, and anorexia and sleep disorders followed by skin desquamation and then an enlarged liver and papillar oedema.
• High intakes of carotene may color plasma and skin, but do not appear to be dangerous.
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Disclaimer: Information provided on this site is for educational purposes. The information in not given as medical advice nor is it intended to propose or offers to propose a cure for any disease or condition. Before starting any medical treatment, please consult your physician.