What is Vitamin A? What are its Benefits and Duties?
The body needs vitamins, which are organic compounds, in order to fully perform its functions and maintain its vital activities. Vitamins are essential for the healthy development of body cells, to perform digestive functions and to gain immunity against infections.
The human body cannot synthesize vitamins; Therefore, it must be taken from outside with food. When adequate amounts of vitamins are not taken, problems may occur in metabolism. Vitamins are not used as energy in the body. It provides efficient use of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats by the body.
Vitamins are divided into fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K, and water-soluble vitamins are C, B group vitamins, and folic acid. When water-soluble vitamins are taken in large amounts, they can be excreted through sweat or urine. When fat-soluble vitamins are taken in excess, they are stored in the adipose tissue. Because they are storable, excessive consumption of fat-soluble vitamins can cause toxic effects.
What is Vitamin A? What are its Duties and Features?
Vitamin A, which is found in different forms in both animal and plant foods, is converted to vitamin A after it is taken into the body. Vitamin A, which is found in animal foods in the form of retinol and in plant sources in the form of carotenoids, is of great importance in the prevention of diseases.
Thanks to its vitamin A properties, which have positive effects on bone and tooth development, it also plays an effective role in protecting skin and eye health. Since it is a fat-soluble vitamin, the consumption of vitamin A stored in the body should not be excessive.
Maintaining the balance of body fluids and synthesizing proteins necessary for the repair and construction of cells, organs, tissues and bones are among the duties of vitamin A.
What’s In Vitamin A?
Vitamin A, which is found in high levels in foods of animal origin, is also found in foods of plant origin. So, which foods contain the most vitamin A?
- Vegetable foods such as tomatoes, carrots, parsley, green beans, spinach, peas, leeks, broccoli, lentils, zucchini, chard, and turnip are among the rich sources of vitamin A.
- In addition, vitamin A is found in fruits such as melon, watermelon, apricot, peach and apple.
- Sea products such as salmon, shrimp, sardines, tuna, dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, animal foods such as chicken, eggs, offal, and meat are among the foods that contain vitamin A.
What Are the Benefits of Vitamin A?
- Vitamin A, which plays an important role in protecting eye health, helps prevent night blindness and treat eye disorders.
- Vitamin A taken regularly helps prevent vision problems that may occur in later ages.
- It supports the proliferation of cells necessary for the growth and development of the embryo.
- Vitamin A is used in the treatment of skin blemishes. In addition, vitamin A prevents the formation of acne. Due to its antioxidant properties, vitamin A is a vitamin that benefits the skin. It supports the formation of smoother and more vibrant skin by renewing the skin tissues.
- Due to its antioxidant structure, it facilitates the removal of toxins from the body and ensures the removal of excess water accumulated in the body. Vitamin A, which supports the body’s immune system, protects the body against infections by increasing the production of white blood cells and antibodies.
- Vitamin A, which is effective against digestive system disorders, plays an important role in the prevention of ulcers and gastritis.
What Does Vitamin A Do?
- Vitamin A, which plays an active role especially in eye problems, supports the immune system and helps all tissues and organs, especially the skin, to fulfill their duties in a healthy way.
- Vitamin A, which protects the body against inflammation in kidney diseases, infections due to colds, mucus, bladder and lung infections, reduces the negative effects of free radicals thanks to its antioxidant properties.
- The vitamin that supports the body in the repair and maintenance of tissues, cells and organs, the formation of new cells, helps in the development of teeth and bones.
- Helping to store fat, the vitamin prevents the formation of cancer cells by protecting body cells against oxidation thanks to its antioxidant properties.
- Vitamin A, which delays the effects of aging, is an essential component for the body to use proteins.
How is Vitamin A Deficiency Diagnosed?
Vitamin A is included in almost all foods in the daily nutrition program. Although its deficiency is not a common problem, it can be seen in some special nutritional conditions and diseases.
- Inadequate intake may occur due to the increased need for vitamin A in pregnant and lactating women and children in infancy. Especially in infants with insufficient breast milk, chronic diarrhea is encountered due to vitamin A deficiency.
- Conditions such as dry eye called xerophthalmia, night blindness, slow response of the eye to light changes, corneal damage in the eye, difficulty seeing in low light may be caused by vitamin A deficiency.
- Skin flaking, excessive dryness of the skin, increase in urinary tract infections, increase in the nose, eye, middle ear, sinus and lung infections are among the problems experienced in vitamin A deficiency.
- Teeth, gingival disorders, and deformities in the bones, straining under the eyes are also signs of vitamin A deficiency.
Since it is a storable vitamin, vitamin A may not be felt immediately. The source of vitamin A in the liver. When dietary retinol and carotenoids are insufficient, the body makes vitamin A supplements from the liver.
In addition to consuming foods rich in vitamin A for its treatment, vitamin A can be consumed under the supervision of a doctor in the form of capsules, vitamin A pills and vitamin A serum. Vitamin A prices vary according to the brand, content and quality of the product.
What Causes Vitamin A Excess?
Excessive intake of vitamin A is not possible with diet. The use of vitamin A ampoules, vitamin A cream and vitamin A tablets taken as supplements can cause excessive intake. When taken above the recommended dose, an excess of vitamin A is seen in the body .
Birth defects and anomalies, weakening of bones and impaired liver function are among the side effects of vitamin A. The daily intake of vitamin A, which is one of the key vitamins in the body, varies according to adults, childhood and some special conditions. The amount of vitamin A to be taken daily should be determined individually by the doctor or dietitian.
In case of excess vitamin A in the body , headache, menstrual irregularities, bone and joint pain, weakness, fatigue and reluctance can be seen. These ailments may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Itching and exfoliation on the skin can also be observed in allergen bodies.
While the recommended amount of vitamin A intake during pregnancy supports the development of the baby’s organs such as the heart, eyes, legs and ears, excessive intake may cause congenital anomalies by affecting the development of the skull, lungs, eyes and heart.
Are There Any Harms of Vitamin A? What is Vitamin A Poisoning?
Since vitamin A is not a water-soluble vitamin, it cannot be eliminated from the body through urine or sweat. When taken in excess, it is stored in the liver. In case of excessive intake, acute or chronic vitamin A poisoning may occur.
Acute poisoning occurs within a few hours or a few days after consumption of high levels of vitamin A, while chronic poisoning occurs as a result of long-term use of high levels of vitamin A. Acute toxicity is observed in vomiting, pressure on the brain, nausea, abdominal pain, irritability and lethargy.
Chronic vitamin A poisoning generally occurs due to the high supplementation of vitamin A oil used for skin treatment. In addition, problems such as chronic liver diseases and alcoholism can cause vitamin A poisoning.
In chronic toxicity, bone swelling, bone pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to sunlight, skin itching and shedding, nail breakage, cracks in the corner of the mouth, jaundice, softening of the bone and hair loss are seen. When these symptoms are felt, the diagnosis is made with blood tests and treatment is generally provided by removing vitamin A sources from the diet and not using supplements.