Vitamin A

A fat soluble vitamin, available in two forms : retinol and beta carotene.

Functions

  • Proper functioning of eyes and to prevent night blindness.
  • Needed for growth and reproduction.
  • Needed for wound healing.
  • Maintains healthy skin and mucous membranes (maintains the integrity of epithelium).
  • Essential for healthy teeth structure.
  • Helps to fight infectious and environment pollutants.
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-carcinogenic

Sources

  • Beta carotene

o    Mustard green

o    Spinach

o    Broccoli

o    Asparagus

o    Lettuce

o    Parsley

o    Carrot

o    Sweet potato

o    Yam

o    Pumpkin

o    Apricot

o    Peach

o    Mango

o    Papaya

o    Cherries

o    Watermelon

  • Retinol

o    Egg yolk

o    Whole milk

o    Cream

o    Butter

o    Liver

o    Fish liver oil

Deficiency

  • Impaired vision in dim light (night blindness).
  • Dryness of eyes followed by burning, itching and infection at a later stage.
  • Skin problems.
  • Dull and dry hair, dandruff.
  • Lowered immune function.
  • Kidney stone formation.

Toxicity

  • Since, it is stored in the body and not readily excreted, large doses may be toxic.
  • Toxicity may occur due to intake of Vitamin A supplements without proper medical supervision.
  • Symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity (Hypervitaminosis A) :

o    Drying of lips, eyes and skin.

o    Headache, Nausea, vomiting.

o    Loss of hair.

o    Bone and joint pain.

o    Enlargement of spleen and liver.

Recommended dietary allowances