Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in the liver and essential nutrient for humans; it comes in two forms: retinol- found in animal products and beta-carotene found in plants food (especially brightly coloured fruits and vegetables) which the body converts into vitamin A. Both forms of vitamin A need some fat in the diet to aid absorption. Vitamin A has a number of important functions and is essential for a healthy skin, eyesight, growth and reproduction.

Fat-soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water; They are distributed in the body as fats and are stored in the liver and fatty organs.

Vitamin A promotes the growth of strong teeth and bones, and keeps the skin healthy. In the eye, vitamin A is essential for the formation of a visual purple (the pigment that allows us see in dim light). Vitamin A is a well-known immune system booster and helps the body fight infections. It also plays an important role in wound healing. Moreover, vitamin A helps to maintain fertility and is important for fetal development.

Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that destroys free radicals molecules that damage healthy cells, speed up the ageing process and can cause a number of serious diseases to develop.

Deficiency symptoms

Poor night vision


Dry, flaky skin

Frequent colds or infection

Mouth ulcers.

Vitamin A as a Remedy

Acne, wrinkles and psoriasis

Many face creams contain vitamin A; Even drugs derived from vitamin A are used to treat severe acne. As an antioxidant, vitamin A neutralizes free radicals, substances that destroy collagen and are known to play a treatment role in inflammatory disorders of psoriasis.

Viral infections

Vitamin A helps to protect against sore throats, colds and other viral infections, and shortens the duration of such illnesses. So Vitamin A plays a role in strengthening the immune system and improving resistance.

Main functions of vitamin A

  • Antioxidant
  • Immunity booster (vitamin A helps the body natural defense against illness and infection (the immune system work properly)
  • Essential for vision
  • Promotes a healthy skin
  • Fertility (vitamin A helps to maintain fertility and is important for fetal development).

Sources of vitamin A

Retinol is found in meats, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Beta-carotene is present in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables; yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers; yellow fruit such as mango, papaya and apricots. One carrot alone should provide your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A (700mcg).

Any vitamin A your body does not need immediately is stored in the liver for future use.

Foods sources of vitamin A are:

● Liver

● Cheeses, milk and yoghurt

● eggs

● Oily fish and Cod liver oil

● Carrots

● Sweet potatoes

● Butter

● Tomatoes


Retinol (a form of Vitamin A) can cause birth defects in an unborn child and should not be taken as a supplement by pregnant women or those planning a pregnancy. Pregnant women should also avoid cod liver oil and liver, as these also contain high amounts of retinol. Excessive amounts of beta-carotene turn your skin yellow, but your colour will return to normal if you reduce consumption.

Risk & Toxicity

Preformed vitamin A can be toxic when people consume too much, either through their diet or through supplementation.

Consuming too much preformed vitamin A can lead to vitamin A toxicity or hypervitaminosis A.

Symptoms can include:

● changes in skin color

● peeling on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet

● cracked skin on the fingers

● psoriasis

● allergic contact dermatitis

● ectropion, which affects the skins around the eyes

● dry lips, mouth, and nose, which can increase the risk of infection

● reduced sebum production.

Long-term overuse can lead to:

● changes in bone formation

● high cholesterol levels

● liver damage

● nervous system changes leading to headaches, nausea, and vomiting.


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