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Vitamin A

 Vitamin A: Health Benefits, Deficiency, Food Sources, and Supplements

Vitamin A (also called retinol) is a fat-soluble nutrient essential for the maintenance of our body. It is also an important nutrient because it cannot be produced by our body and must be provided as part of our diet. Vitamin A helps the body to grow well and strengthens immune system to resist diseases. It also promotes the development of certain organs in the body, especially the eye. While we can get Vitamin A from plant foods like carrot, pumpkin, and human milk, this nutrient is also available in animal foods, including dairy products (whole milk, yoghurt, cheese), liver, and fish oils. 

Recently, the World health organization has suggested that Vitamin A deficiency affects certain groups of people, such as young children, women of reproductive age, and pregnant women. Vitamin A deficiency has several consequences that can affect our health and physical performance. Today, Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) remains the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. Young children and pregnant women need to eat vitamin A-rich foods to avoid a deficiency.

Related: 5 Recommended Vitamin Brands for Children

Benefits of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is needed to regulate key biological processes in our body. It assists in:

  • Maintaining good vision, especially in dim light.
  • Maintaining skin and the lining of some parts of the body, such as the nose.
  • Increasing immune response against diseases.
  • Bone growth
  • Fetus growth and development.

Foods high in vitamin A

What Is The Result Of Vitamin A Deficiency?

Note that you can also get vitamin A from good sources of beta-carotene. This is because our body converts carotenoids (beta-carotene) into retinol (vitamin A) for use in the body. Food rich in beta-carotene are: red, orange, yellow and leafy green vegetables (e.g. carrots, sweet potato and pepper), red and orange fruit (e.g. mangos, oranges and apricots).

Some foods are also fortified with Vitamin A. However, we cannot rely on them alone for an adequate supply because they contain limited amounts of vitamin A. Some Vitamin-A fortified foods include; snacks, beverages, margarine, noodles,

What are the consequences of vitamin A deficiency?

Some health issues caused by Vitamin A deficiency are:

  • Poor iron absorption
  • Decreased immune response
  • Poor growth retardation
  • Anaemia
  • Xerophthalmia (a condition that causes night blindness or spots on the eyes)

Which People Are At Risk Of Vitamin A Deficiency?

  • Infants and children whose mothers are Vitamin A deficient during lactation.
  • People with Vitamin A absorption problems
  • People without access to fortified foods
  • People who take too much alcohol

Is Too Much Vitamin A Bad For My Health?

Foods like liver and liver products are particularly high in Vitamin A. So, you may be at risk of having too much vitamin A if you eat them more than once a week. Also, many multivitamins contain Vitamin A. Other supplements, such as fish liver oil, are also high in vitamin A. Excess vitamin A can harm the respiratory and skeletal systems and even interfere with the body’s metabolism of other fat‐soluble vitamins. It is advisable to take the recommended quality of vitamin A to stay healthy.

How Much Vitamin A Do I Need?

An adult between 19 to 64 years needs: 700 micrograms of Vitamin A daily for men; 600 micrograms of Vitamin A daily for women. Eating a balanced diet every day should get you all the Vitamin A you need.

Recommended Vitamin A Supplements

People at risk of taking a Vitamin A deficiency can take a multivitamin or a Vitamin A supplement for adequate supply. Here are some premium Vitamin A products you can try out:

Jamieson – Vitamin A 10,000IU 100 Capsules

This product contains a quality amount of vitamin A for the body. It features a premium formula that makes it reliable, safe and effective for those with a Vitamin A deficiency. It is offered By Jamieson –one of Canada’s Top certified brands trusted for making organic and premium supplements.   Taking Jamieson’s Vitamin A supplement maintains the retina, promotes night vision and enhances eye health. Like Vitamin A from food, this supplement supports skin growth, cell regeneration and also assists in the normal functioning of the immune system.

Blackmore Vitamin A 5000

Blackmores is one of Australia’s leading natural health companies. They offer an extensive range of vitamins, minerals, herbal and nutritional supplements. Blackmores products are developed using high-quality ingredients from around the world. This brand offers the Vitamin A 5000 product as a unique aid for healthy eye function and healthy vision. It also assists night vision. The product has easy-to-swallow capsules and has gathered a lot of positive reviews. Adults are directed to take just 1 capsule a day unless a doctor prescribes otherwise.  

NOTE: if you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant, we recommend that you do not take vitamin A supplements without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. Having large amounts of vitamin A can affect your unborn baby. Also, avoid vitamin A-rich foods like liver or liver products.  

Michael Yeung
Author: Michael Yeung

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