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Vitamin A- Biochemical functions, Deficiency manifestations, RDA, Sources

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient, which means your body needs it for proper functioning. It helps in maintaining normal vision and growth and also helps in the development of the mucous membranes in your body. It also acts as an antioxidant and is required for a proper immune system.

1. Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms:

Vitamin A deficiency can lead to some pretty serious health problems, including night blindness, corneal ulcers, and infectious blindness. It can also lead to a weakened immune system. Which in turn can lead to a whole host of other health problems. One of the key warning signs of a vitamin A deficiency is dry, impaired skin.

2. Benefits of Vitamin A:

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced in the cell and is stored in the liver, muscles and other organs. It is important for healthy vision, bone health, reproduction, and maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin A also helps with skin and mucus membrane health and is required for cell growth and repair.

3. Foods to Consume:

There are many dietary sources of both preformed vitamin A and provitamin A carotenoids. Preformed vitamin A is more readily absorbed and utilized by your body than plant-based sources of provitamin A carotenoids.

Foods highest in preformed vitamin A are:

  • Egg yolks
  • Beef liver
  • Liverwurst
  • Butter
  • Cod liver oil
  • Chicken liver
  • Salmon
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Liver sausage
  • King mackerel
  • Trout

Foods high in provitamin A carotenoids like beta-carotene include :

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Dandelion greens
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Red peppers
  • Collard greens
  • Parsely
  • Butternut squash

4. Recommended daily intake:

Just as vitamin A deficiency can negatively impact health, getting too much can also be dangerous. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 900 mcg and 700 mcg per day for men and women, respectively — so if you follow a whole foods diet, you can easily meet these recommendations.

5. Vitamin A overdose:

Vitamin A overdose, also known as hypervitaminosis A, is a medical condition that can lead to toxicity in the body. Many people consume too much vitamin A, and there is disagreement about high intakes of vitamin A supplements. It can be more common in women than in men, and infants are among the most vulnerable people to vitamin A toxicity. The most serious effects of vitamin A toxicity include rapid weight loss, bone marrow suppression and liver failure