Vitamin A: Functions, Sources, Consequences of Deficiency

Vitamin A, chemically known as retinol, plays significant role in influencing many functions in the human body by different organs. Vitamin A is very helps maintain healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes. The main function of vitamin A is to provide healthy vision. Any person having issues in retina of the eyes needs vitamin A, which is necessary to make the vision enough in low or dim light and also in color vision- the ability to differentiate between colors.

Vitamin A helps not only to good vision but also to develop immune function, bone metabolism, healthy skin, gene transcription, cell division, bone growth and also reduces cholesterol etc.

Vitamin A deficiency occurs in children and adults who don’t consume foods containing vitamin A and also in people who smoke, persons who have chronic malabsorption and biliary problems. Deficiency of vitamin A leads to blindness, fatigue, blurred vision, weight loss and nausea.

Vitamin A can be obtained from two main sources called plant sources and animal sources.

Plant sources such as fruits and vegetables containing vitamin ‘A’ are green leafy vegetables, carrot, broccoli, spinach, mustard green, pumpkin, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, water melon, peach, mango, papaya etc.

The animal sources include meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beef, sea foods, cheese, chicken liver, butter, fortified milk, fish oil, cod liver oil etc.

Vitamin A can also be obtained in the form of supplements like tablets, capsules or liquids but in a recommended dose which should not exceed the prescribed limit. Excess of vitamin A leads to birth defects and diseases like osteoporosis, carotenosis.

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