Vitamin A is crucial for many processes in your body, including maintaining the proper function of your immune system, endorsing healthy vision, and even helping for the proper development of babies in the womb. Vitamin A is actually the collective term for a group of fat-soluble compounds very important for your overall health.
What are the recommended dosages for Vitamin A?
According to scientific research, the recommended dosage that men have to take is 900 mcg; for women is 700 mcg, and for children and adolescents around 300–600 mcg of vitamin A per day. What’s interesting is that this Vitamin is found in both animal and plant sources. It also comes in two different forms: preformed Vitamin A and Provitamin A.
Preformed vitamin A is the active form of the vitamin compounds, which your body can absorb and use right away. You can find it in animal products like meat, fish, chicken, and dairy. This form of Vitamin A includes the compounds retinol, retinal and retinoic acid.
Provitamin A carotenoids on the other hand are made of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, which are the inactive form of the vitamin. This particular type is found in plants. However, when you consume it in this form, your body converts it to the active form and absorbs it.
What are the 5 health benefits of vitamin A, backed up by science?
1.Promotes eye health and protects your eyes from age-related decline
Vitamin A is crucial for preserving healthy eyesight. Your eyes need the vitamin to be able to convert the light that enters them and turn it into an electrical signal that can be sent to your brain. Furthermore, one of the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency could be night blindness, also known as nyctalopia. This is because the vitamin is a major component of the pigment rhodopsin. The retina of your eye contains rhodopsin and it is extremely sensitive to light. People who have this condition can still see normally during the day, but have trouble seeing in darkness because their eyes have a hard time picking up light.
Additionally, if you consume adequate amounts of beta-carotene that could help slow the decline in eyesight that often comes with aging. However, note that according to a recent Cochrane review, beta-carotene supplements alone won’t prevent or delay the decline in eyesight caused by AMD.
2.Contributes to a healthy Immune system.
Vitamin A is essential for maintaining your body’s immunity. This includes the mucous barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut, and genitals which help trap bacteria and other infectious agents.
Furthermore, it is also included in the production and function of white blood cells, which are your body’s first line of defense against viruses and harmful bacteria. They capture and clear these invaders as well as other pathogens from your bloodstream.
What this means is that in case you suffer from Vitamin A deficiency, you have a higher risk of getting infected and that can lead to a delay in recovery when you get sick.
3.Helps reduce the risk of acne
People with this condition develop many spots and blackheads, mostly on the face, back, and chest that can be even painful.
According to specialists, these spots occur when the sebaceous glands get clogged up with dead skin and oils. The hair follicles on your skin have these glands which produce sebum – an oily, waxy substance that keeps your skin lubricated and waterproof. Although acne is physically harmless, it could have a serious effect on people’s mental health and lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, or even depression. This condition can sometimes occur for more than two or three years.
Right now the exact role that vitamin A plays in the development and treatment of acne remains unclear, however, according to specialists a deficiency in this vitamin could increase the risk of developing acne. The reason is the fact that this deficiency can cause an overproduction of the protein keratin in your hair follicles. Furthermore, this increases your risk of acne because it becomes more difficult for dead skin cells to be removed from hair follicles, leading to blockages. This is why many medications for treating acne contain vitamin-A.
4.Supports healthy bones
There is a particular set of nutrients that your body needs in order to maintain healthy bones as you age – these include protein, calcium, and vitamin D. However, consuming enough vitamin A is also necessary for proper bone growth and development. In case you suffer from a deficiency in this vitamin that can lead to poor bone health.
In fact, according to science people with lower blood levels of vitamin A are at a higher risk of bone fractures than people with healthy levels. However, keep in mind that vitamin A alone does not determine the risk of fractures. To get to that point of bad bone health, you would have to be deficient in many other essential nutrients.
5.Encourages and assists proper growth and reproduction
Vitamin A is a key compound needed for maintaining a healthy reproductive system in both men and women. It is also vital for ensuring the normal growth and development of embryos during pregnancy. In pregnant women, vitamin A helps support the growth and development of many major organs and structures of the unborn child, including the skeleton, nervous system, heart, kidneys, eyes, lungs, and pancreas. However, consuming too much vitamin A during pregnancy can be harmful to the growing baby as well and may lead to birth defects.
Vitamin A is crucial for many important processes in your body. It helps maintain healthy vision, and ensures the normal functioning of your organs and immune system. It also supports the normal growth and development of babies in the womb. However, keep in mind that both too little and too much vitamin A could negatively affect your health.