A fat-soluble substance that is stored in the liver and it is a powerful anti-oxidant; Vitamin A plays an important role in the human body. The first vitamin to be discovered, therefore its given name, this substance exerts an important role in the organism in:
- the prevention of anemia,
- fortifying the immune system,
- developing organs such as lungs, kidney, bones, and eyes in the fetus,
- helping to fortify the resistance power in order to avoid infections by the upgrading of a healthy fat metabolism,
- relevant for a good sight,
- helping bone growth,
- supporting skin health
This vitamin intake can cause two problems in the organism. The first one is originated when the system takes excess of this substance generating toxicity levels, which can be acute – caused by accidental ingestion, especially in children – or long-lasting. The results of this poisoning are reflected in variations in the skin, hair, and nails. This can be clinically controlled and an adjustment in the dose is the remedy for this situation.
The other form of affection from this vitamin could be presented is the deficiency of the element. The origin of this vitamin deficiency principally lies in a lengthy dietary shortage, using rice as a principal food (which has no carotene at all) and malnutrition. Other causes of this insufficiency are more internal such as the impossibility of convert carotene into vitamin A or a reduction in the absorption, storage, or transportation of this substance. Some diseases can be responsible of the origin of this failure such as coeliac disease, cirrhosis, and cystic fibrosis as well as duodenal bypass surgery and bile duct obstruction
When the organism does not obtain enough vitamin A, the following conditions can be presented:
- Constant and persistent skin infections.
- Acne, dry and scaly skin.
- Infections in the throat or presence of ulcers in the mouth.
- Dry hair and dandruff.
- Sore eye lids and dark lighting poor vision in extreme situations.
- Thinning and ulceration of the cornea at advanced stages.
- Dryness of the conjunctivitis or the cornea
- Perforation of the cornea as well.
- Blindness caused by the structural retinal damage.
- Broken fingernails
To avoid this condition, it is recommendable to intake food rich in this element. There are a lot of foods that contain vitamin A like chicken, eggs, beef, liver, carrots, fortified milk, mangoes, sweet potatoes and leafy green vegetables.
Additionally, it can be found in egg yolks, animal butter and whole small fish (with no removal of the liver).
Breast milk is also a good source of this vitamin, so that is why pediatricians recommend to breastfeed children for a period up to six months.