Hey, guys! I’m so glad you’re back here for more juicy tips and facts. You’re definitely welcome. I promised to complete the article on vitamin A today so I’ll do just that. Please refer to the last post for a recap.
I’ll discuss the effects of vitamin A deficiency first (just so you’ll appreciate the benefits). People with long-term fat malabsorption are usually prone to vitamin A deficiency. This is because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin.
People with gluten sensitivity, leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases and pancreatic failure diseases may also suffer vitamin A deficiency. Also, alcoholics with excess alcohol toxicity levels may suffer vitamin A deficiency.
What are the symptoms of vitamin A deficiency?
1. Poor vision: This is a major symptom and one of the most basic too (we were all taught the importance of vitamin A for eye health in primary school). Vitamin A deficiency can lead to thickening of the cornea which may eventually lead to blindness. Vitamin A deficiency leads to keratomalacia. Keratomalacia is a condition caused by severe vitamin A deficiency. It affects both eyes and leads to blindness.
2. Respiratory infections: Vitamin A is beneficial for immune functions. Respiratory infections can occur due to the body’s immunity being impaired by the lack of vitamin A. The effects of vitamin A deficiency on respiratory health is usually more severe in younger patients. Growth retardation and infections are common among children, and the mortality rate can reportedly exceed 50% in children with severe vitamin A deficiency.
3. Premature skin drying: If you want that youthful, healthy looking skin then you definitely do not want to be vitamin A deficient. Vitamin A deficiency will lead to the drying, scaling, and thickening of the follicles of the skin. Keratinization of the skin, when the epithelial cells lose their moisture and become hard and dry, can occur in the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal tract, and urinary tract. Keratin is a protein found on the outer layer of the skin. Keratinization is the hardening process of keratin.
4. Increased risk during pregnancy: For pregnant women, the vitamin A demand is the highest during the last trimester. Most often, women suffer from vitamin A deficiencies during this time. A pregnant woman can suffer from night blindness if her vitamin A intake is not sufficient
The deficiencies if vitamin A discussed above should give you an idea of the benefits of ADEQUATE Vitamin A intake. Vitamin A;
1. Protects/improves vision: vitamin A protects the eyes against macular degeneration. It helps to heal dry eyes and also fights eye disease.
2. Prevents inflammation: inflammation is labelled the root of all illnesses and diseases. Vitamin A has antioxidant properties which neutralise the free radicals that might cause inflammation.
3. Supports skin health and cell growth: vitamin A is necessary for wound healing and skin re-growth. It also slows down ageing by increasing collagen production and reducing acne.4. Provides immune support: vitamin A regulates the genes for the body’s immune response. It is essential to help fight diseases, even cancer!
5. Helps prevent cancer: vitamin A can help to treat several forms of cancer. This is due to its ability to control malignant cells in the body. Several forms of cancer such as breast, prostate, skin, oral and lung cancers have been shown to be suppressed by retinoic acid.
Effects of Vitamin A toxicity
Toxicity occurs when an excess amount of vitamin A is consumed. This has proven to do more harm than good.
Consuming too much Vitamin A from supplementation or in combination with other antioxidants has been associated with birth defects, lower bone density, and liver problems.
Overconsumption of vitamin A can lead to jaundice, nausea, loss of appetite, irritability, vomiting, and even hair loss. If you are going to consume Vitamin A supplements, it is advisable to take lower doses and take mostly supplements from food based sources. You should also consult your doctor. People who drink heavily or have kidney or liver disease also should not take vitamin A supplements without talking to a doctor.
Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include dry skin, joint pain, vomiting, headaches, and confusion. Foods do not contain enough preformed vitamin A to expose us to toxicity-producing amounts, so if you are using supplements that contain vitamin A, look into the amount of vitamin A present and make sure it is appropriate for your gender and age.
Do you know the amount of vitamin A you should consume per day?
Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin A
Most people get enough vitamin A from their diets but if you have a vitamin A deficiency, then you might have to take vitamin A supplements. People with diseases such as digestive disorders or very poor diets may need a supplement in order to get the recommended daily intake on vitamin A.
When including the vitamin A that you get from both food and any supplements that you are taking, the recommended dietary allowance (or RDA) for vitamin A is as follows:
* 1-3 years old: 300 mcg/day
* 4-8 years old: 400 mcg/day
* 9-13 years old: 600 mcg/day
* 14 years old and older: 700 mcg/day
* When pregnant: 750-770 mcg/day
* When breastfeeding: 1,200-1,300 mcg/day
* 14 years old and older: 900 mcg/day
I hope you have learnt a lot from this post. I would be glad to get feedback from you. I’ll be here next week, by God’s grace.