Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds that includes retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and several provitamin A carotenoids.
IUPAC ID: (2E,4E,6E,8E)-3,7-dimethyl-9-(2,6,6-trimethylcyclohexen-1-yl)nona-2,4,6,8-tetraen-1-ol
Functions and Benefits of Vitamin A are
- Vitamin A has multiple functions: it is important for growth and development, for the maintenance of the immune system and good vision.
- Vitamin A is needed by the retina of the eye in the form of retinal, which combines with protein opsin to form rhodopsin, the light-absorbing molecule necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision.
- Vitamin A also functions in a very different role as retinoic acid which is an important hormone-like growth factor for epithelial and other cells.
Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A is essential for normal vision, as well as proper bone growth, healthy skin, and protection of the mucous membranes of the digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts against infection.
- Vitamin A deficiency can occur as either a primary or a secondary deficiency. A primary vitamin A deficiency occurs among children and adults who do not consume an adequate intake of provitamin A carotenoids from fruits and vegetables or preformed vitamin A from animal and dairy products. Early weaning from breastmilk can also increase the risk of vitamin A deficiency.
- Secondary vitamin A deficiency is associated with chronic malabsorption of lipids, impaired bile production and release, and chronic exposure to oxidants, such as cigarette smoke, and chronic alcoholism.
- vitamin A intake could help treat several forms of cancer. It controls control malignant cells in the body. retinoic acid plays important roles in cell development and differentiation as well as cancer treatment. Lung, prostate, breast, ovarian, bladder, oral, and skin cancers have been demonstrated to be suppressed by retinoic acid.
- Vitamin A fights inflammation and Vitamin A has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.
- Vitamin A intake can help to lower the risk of certain types of food allergies because it helps to prevent this dangerous overreaction
- Vitamin A lowers the risk for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The most common health concerns that will cause malabsorption of vitamin A include gluten sensitivity issues, a leaky gut syndrome and auto immune responses, inflammatory bowel disease, and pancreatic disorders
- A Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a thickening of the cornea and eventually even to blindness.
- Vitamin A deficiency will lead to the drying, scaling, and follicular thickening of the skin.
- Respiratory infections can occur because the body’s immunity is impaired by the lack of vitamin A.
- A pregnant woman can suffer from night blindness if her vitamin A intake is not sufficient.
Source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is found in two primary forms: active Vitamin A and beta carotene
- Vitamin A comes from animal-derived foods and is called retinol.
- The other type of Vitamin A, which is obtained from colorful fruits and vegetables, is in the form of “pro Vitamin A” carotenoids
Some food rich in vitamin A are beef liver, carrots, sweat potato, kale, spinach, broccoli, butter, eggs, cheese, fish, poultry meat, and dairy foods and leafy vegetables etc.,