Ad Code

EARLY WARNING SIGNS Your Body Is In Need Of Vitamin A

As a child, I remember being told, “Eat more carrots and say bye-bye to glasses.” Let’s admit it! At some point, we all have heard that eating carrots is good for our vision. But most of us have never given it a second thought - my sincere apology to all the carrot proponents out there because, as it turns out! You were right! But why are carrots good for our vision? Vitamin A, of course! It is an essential nutrient and is renowned for promoting good eye health. Let’s get to know vitamin A better in today’s post.

Image on iStock

What makes it so important? What are the warning signs of its deficiency? Where do we get it? We’ll be talking about all of this and more.

WHY DO YOU NEED VITAMIN A?

Vitamin A is an essential micronutrient that your body cannot manufacture. You must obtain it through your diet as it is required in various physiological processes.

So let’s start with the most famous benefit of consuming vitamin A: 

ENHANCED EYE HEALTH:

Eye conditions are credited to be some of the issues linked with vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of childhood blindness worldwide, with most cases occurring in developing countries. Although vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States,  most cases are usually due to poor dietary intake, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal malabsorption. Vitamin A deficiency can cause various eye-related disorders like xerophthalmia, a condition where tear ducts dry up, and retinopathy, which causes damage to blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye. Other common disorders are corneal drying, clouding of the cornea, and night blindness.

Must Read: 10 Fast and Easy Eye Exercises to Improve Your Eyesight

Vitamin A or retinol plays an essential role in the formation of rhodopsin, a visual pigment vital for retinal receptors (where visuals/images are received, comprehended, and then sent to the brain for further processing). And at times,  when there is a shortage of rhodopsin due to vitamin A deficiency, it becomes troublesome for you to adapt to darkness and see clearly, which is called night blindness.

Let me tell you something interesting! Do you know how ancient Egyptians dealt with night blindness?  Well, physicians used to squeeze the juices of grilled lamb’s liver into the eyes of the affected individual. The possible explanation behind this can be due to the liver’s richness in vitamin A, hence the remedial effects. So ensuring a proper vitamin-rich diet can help you deal with all such ocular issues and positively impact the well-being of your eyes.

A POTENT ANTIOXIDANT:

Now, did you know it acts as a potent antioxidant and keeps many health problems at bay? Precursors of Vitamin A, or carotenoids, you obtain from plant-based sources help you relieve oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can often lead to the development of chronic conditions like diabetes, cancers, cardiovascular problems, and neurological disorders. But what causes oxidative stress? The answer is free radicals. These highly reactive chemicals form when an atom or a molecule gains or loses an electron. Although naturally processed by your body to carry out day-to-day cellular functions, abnormal increases in their numbers can be hazardous. High concentrations of free radicals can expose your body to ionizing radiation, which can easily cause damage to major components of DNA, protein, and cell membranes - ultimately leading to cancer development. 

This is where carotenoids come in. Carotenoids act as effective antioxidants; they can scavenge free radicals, neutralize them, and keep you safe from diseases. Studies have shown that including an adequate amount of carotenoids or vitamin A in your diet prevents vicious diseases from breaking through and invading your body.

Must Read: 13 TOP Foods That Melt Stubborn Belly Fat

BOOST TO ITS IMMUNE SYSTEM:

Vitamin A will give your body a much-needed boost to its immune system. Vitamin A is an anti-inflammation vitamin because of its crucial role in enhancing immune function. Your body uses its immune system as a guard; If it’s functioning correctly, it’ll be more difficult for infections and diseases to damage your body. Your immune system has mechanisms to identify threats and chase away intruders. It only falters when you fail to feed it the required nutrients. The immune system army is composed of B cells, white blood cells, macrophages, neutrophils, and T cells. They fight against infection-causing microorganisms. Vitamin A plays a vital role in the immune cells' differentiation, maturation, and function. It stimulates them by issuing high-alert warnings and, consecutively, facilitates a smooth immune response.

Must Read: 22 Healthy Habits to Make Your Immune System To The Next Level

Studies show that Vitamin A deficiency can lead to an increase in the levels of pro-inflammatory molecules and diminish the effectiveness of the immune function. So if you wish to keep your immune forces in perfect condition, remember to increase your vitamin A intake.

MAINTAIN A YOUTHFUL CHARM & GLOW TO YOUR SKIN:

Looking to maintain a youthful charm and glow to your skin? If you want soft and supple skin and to prevent the signs of aging, it’s time to increase your vitamin A intake and bid goodbye to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. Vitamin A boosts collagen production and helps you keep your skin's youthful charm intact by improving your overall skin tone. Studies have shown that vitamin A is responsible for skin cells' regeneration and damage control. It saves you from skin conditions like eczema that causes it to become dry, itchy, and inflamed. Clinical research has found that alitretinoin, a medication with vitamin A activity, is used for treating eczema.

Are you tired of that stubborn acne that always appears before an important function? If yes, then here is the solution. Vitamin A is an effective cure for acne too. Yes! Retinoids are common clinical supplements prescribed by dermatologists for the treatment of breakouts in adolescents and adults.

Vitamin A also protects you against sun damage by forbidding harmful UV rays from affecting you. Not only this, but it also helps to deal with environmental factors like pollution and saves your skin from developing patches and pigmentation.

FERTILITY & FETAL DEVELOPMENT:

Let’s talk about the effects of Vitamin A on fertility and fetal development. Well, if the idea of starting a new chapter of your life has crossed your mind and you are enthusiastic to welcome a new family member, increasing your vitamin A intake will be crucial. Vitamin A is essential for both reproductive systems because it aids in sperm development and egg formation. Studies have shown that vitamin A deficiency can block the development of sperm cells and can cause infertility. Likewise,  it could reduce egg quality and severely affect the implantation of eggs in the womb. And if you are already pregnant, vitamin A will benefit fetal growth, tissue development, and maintenance. Studies have shown that vitamin A intake is essential for both a mother's and child’s health, especially during the third trimester when the fetus is in accelerated maturation. It is involved in the development of organs and structures of the baby, such as the skeleton, nervous system, heart, kidneys, eyes, and lungs.

Have you ever been told that too much of anything is bad? Well, the same applies here. Research shows that high consumption of vitamin A during pregnancy can be dangerous for the baby and puts them at a higher risk of acquiring congenital disabilities. Doctors often advise the “mothers-to-be” to avoid foods like pate and liver because they contain concentrated amounts of this micronutrient.

So now that you know about Vitamin A benefits, you might be asking yourself, “How do I know if I’m running low on this essential vitamin?”. Don’t worry! We got you covered!

Here are a few EARLY WARNING SIGNS when your body is not getting enough of this micronutrient.

1. Your skin has become rough and dry.

2. You cannot produce tears,  and your eyes are constantly dry.

3. You have started experiencing night blindness.

4. You are facing troubles in conceiving and might be going through some infertility issues. 

5. In children, vitamin A deficiency can manifest as stunted growth.

6. You become more prone to infections.

7. There can be a delay in wound healing because of the inability of the body to stimulate new cell growth or failure in epidermis formation.

8. There is a higher incidence of acne and breakouts.

Although vitamin A deficiency is rare in the U.S., you can still get tested for a deficiency. A deficiency test consists of measuring vitamin  A levels in the blood by drawing a sample from inside the elbow or back of the hand.

That said, IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHERE YOU CAN GET YOUR VITAMIN A

Vitamin A can be obtained from animal sources and plant sources. And since it is a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s always better to have some light fats on the side menu for better absorption. In animal sources, vitamin A takes the form of retinol which is its most active form. Liver, egg yolk, milk, cheese, and butter are good suppliers.

As for plant sources, vitamin A is present in carotenoids, which are converted into retinol during digestion. Ever wondered where the shiny red,  yellow, and green color in fruits and veggies comes from? Well, that's thanks to carotenoids! Mangoes, papaya, squashes, carrots, sweet potatoes,  pumpkins, carrots, spinach, and chard are also rich sources of vitamin A. This also includes Red palm oil or buriti palm oil.

That’s all we got for you today, so without further ado, visit your nearest grocery store, fill your cart with loads of vitamin A-rich eatables, and reap all the complimentary benefits. Are you interested in learning more about Vitamin B12? Check out: 6 Side Effects Of Too Much Vitamin D That Can Be Dangerous Or 14 Signs Of Vitamin D Deficiency Go ahead! Click one, or better yet, read both.

What did you learn about Vitamin A? Let us know in the comments below!

The information I provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. You should never use content in my writing as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or another qualified clinician. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if indicated for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. I am not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this blog. Thank you.

Post a Comment

0 Comments