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Insurance Article

Why Do We Need Vitamin A?

June 27 2017
Vitamin A

All you need to know about Vitamin A and its benefits

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient essential for the smooth functioning of several physiological processes of the human body, from immune system maintenance to skin cell replacement. Since our bodies cannot produce vitamin A, it’s important to include vitamin A foods in your diet.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 900mcg for men and 700mcg for women daily. For pregnant and lactating women above 19 years, a daily dose of 770 and 1200mcg is recommended respectively. The recommended daily dose for children increases as they age, making it a vital nutrient for the growth process.

Sources of Vitamin A

Vitamin A can be found in plant and animal sources, which ensures that you are eating a balanced diet. Plant sources contain carotenoids; the plant-based form of vitamin A, which is converted to vitamin A after it is consumed. This includes dark green coloured vegetables such as spinach, chard, amaranth, along with carrots, pumpkins, squash, mangoes, papaya, and maize. The animal sources include liver, fish liver oil, dairy products, and eggs. Besides, vitamin A can be found in red palm and Biruti palm oil.

Benefits of Vitamin A

It is necessary to intake the recommended dose of vitamin A for a healthy body, either through a balanced diet or through multivitamin supplement. This nutrition plays a vital role in bodily functions, with benefits such as:

  • Physiological processes – It helps in physiological processes such as ensuring that tissues produce mucous to act as barrier to infection. It also helps in neurological functions, formulation of sperm cells, and supports bone growth.

  • Prevents cancer – The antioxidants in vitamin A, along with retinoic acid, is said to prevent several types of cancer such as colon, breast, and skin cancer.

  • Skin health – Deficiency of vitamin A can cause several skin problems and an excess intake causes dry and itchy skin. Since it supports skin cell growth, it is a necessary nutrient for healthy skin.

  • Supports the immune system – Vitamin A helps with several functions of the body’s immune system. Its deficiency can cause a weakened immune system, leading to increased infections.

  • Improves eye health – Vitamin A in balance doses improves night vision by aiding the eyes to adjust to light changes and keeps the eyes moist. It can also reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which is the cause of vision loss.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Although rarely seen in developed countries, vitamin A deficiency can cause xerophthalmia (dryness of the eye), skin problems, and increased susceptibility to infection, especially in children. In severe cases, it also results in night blindness. People suffering from chronic liver disease or malnutrition and alcoholics have a higher chance of having Vitamin A deficiency.

Excess of Vitamin A

While vitamin A deficiency has harmful effects, so does an excessive intake of this nutrient. Excessive dose of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene does not do as much harm as preformed vitamin A. Symptoms of excess intake include dry skin, nausea, hair loss, fatigue, dizziness, osteoporosis, and liver damage.

In the case of pregnancy, it is advisable to avoid vitamin A supplements as well as liver and liver oil. Excess vitamin A intake in pregnancy is known to cause birth defects such as malformation of the skull, eyes, and heart.

Managing Vitamin A Intake

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for everyone, but an imbalanced intake can do your body more harm than good. Deficiency or excessive intake of this nutrient can lead to severe consequences, such as night blindness and birth defects.

Know what the RDA of vitamin A is for your body to ensure and maintain healthy bodily functions. Along with this, it is important to get yourself and your family a good family health plan, which will provide you with financial assistance for treatment. Moreover, a good health insurance plan will promote wellness activities and consulting a nutritionist that will facilitate you to get the proper intake of vitamin A.

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