Vitamin A is best known as a vitamin that prevents night-blindness. It is also responsible for many other bodily functions such as maintaining healthy teeth, skeletal, soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin.
Also known as retinol, it produces pigments in the retina of the eye and plays an important role in healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Vitamin A is essential for healthy living
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, made up of a group of fat-soluble compounds, including retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters. It is essential for many bodily functions like cell growth, immune function, vision, and more.
1) Protects against age-related decline and night-blindness
Vitamin A protects the eyes from night-blindness i.e., it is important for the ability to see clearly in low light. The vitamin is a major component of pigment rhodopsin in the eyes.
Age-related macular degeneration, attributed to cellular damage and oxidative stress, is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. Eating adequate amounts of Vitamin A may help slow down the age-related eyesight decline.
2) Lowers Risk of Certain Cancers
Although the relationship between cancer and Vitamin A is not yet understood, there have been observational studies that suggest eating higher amounts of Vitamin A may lead to reduced incidence of certain types of cancer.
Having Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene may be able to prevent Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as cervical, bladder and lung cancer. This may be because Vitamin A plays an important role in the growth and development of body cells.
It is also considered that having plant-based Vitamin A may be more beneficial in the above regard than animal-based Vitamin A and supplements.
3) Boosts the immune system
Vitamin A plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s natural defenses against infections and pathogens. The mucus barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut, and genitals, which help trap bacteria and other infectious agents, are maintained and supported by your intake of this essential vitamin.
Vitamin A is also involved in the production and function of white blood cells, which form the primary immune system of the body. WBCs help capture and clear bacteria and other pathogens from your bloodstream. Having adequate amounts of Vitamin A can help keep your immune system healthy and functioning at its best.
4) Works as a Potent Antioxidant
There is evidence to show that precursors of Vitamin A such as beta carotene, alpha carotene, and beta cryptoxanthin have excellent antioxidant properties.
Carotenoids are compounds that protect your body from free radicals (highly reactive molecules that can harm your body by creating oxidative stress). Oxidative stress may cause chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and cognitive decline.
Diets that are rich in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of conditions like heart disease, lung cancer, and diabetes.
5) Vital for Fertility and Reproductive Health
Vitamin A plays a role in both sperm and egg development, and hence is vital for both males and females.
Vitamin A deficiency can impact reproduction by reducing egg quality, affecting egg implantation in the womb in females and blocking the development of sperm cells, causing infertility in men.
The vitamin also plays a role in the normal growth and development of embryos during pregnancy. It helps in 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.
6) Improves Bone Health
Vitamin A is necessary for proper bone growth, development, and a deficiency in the vitamin has been linked to poor bone health.
Observational studies have indicated that people with lower levels of vitamin A are at a higher risk of bone fractures than people with healthy levels. Although these studies are not conclusive, having the recommended amount of vitamin A may help maintain good bone health.
7) Reduces Risk of Acne
Although the exact role of Vitamin A in the prevention and treatment of acne is unclear, vitamin A-based medications are often used to treat severe acne.
These medications must only be taken under the supervision of a doctor. However, maintaining a reasonably healthy lifestyle along with the recommended intake of the vitamin may help in preventing acne.
What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that form an essential micronutrient needed by an organism for the proper functioning of its metabolism. Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized by the organism itself and must be obtained through diet.
Vitamin requirements vary from organism to organism. For instance, humans need to obtain Vitamin C from their diet, whereas a dog can produce all the Vitamin C that it needs.
Different vitamins play different roles in the human body, and a person requires specific amounts of each vitamin to stay healthy.
Consuming too much of Vitamin A can lead to Hypervitaminosis A, which can cause nausea, dizziness, headaches, pain, and even death. Any medication or supplemetation must be done under the supervision of a doctor.
Poll : What is your favorite way to add Vitamin A to your diet?