Vitamin A benefits are associated most with vision-related conditions. However, a host of other non-eye related benefits – including antioxidant benefits – are also identified with Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is chemically-related to the retinoid family of molecules.
Vitamin A comes in various forms. These forms are:
Retinol – This is the most common form of Vitamin A. Retinol is obtained from both animal sources (which contain retinyl esters) and plant sources (which contain carotenoids like beta-carotene). When these animal and plant produce are ingested as meat and vegetables, the substances therein are then converted by the body into Vitamin A. It is typically of an orange or a bright yellow color.
Retinal – This form of Vitamin A is commonly bound to proteins called opsins, which form the chemical basis of animal vision. Retinal enables certain microorganisms to convert light into metabolic energy.
Retinoic Acid – This is the oxidized form of Vitamin A.
The most important sources of Vitamin A are:
liver of beef, chicken, fish, turkey, and pork
The following are the vitamin A benefits that may be derived from this vitamin:
Vitamin A helps the eyes adjust to light changes.
Vitamin A helps keep the mucous membranes moist.
Vitamin A enhances immune function.
Vitamin A aids in bone metabolism.
Vitamin A helps to enhance and bolster skin health.
Vitamin A aids in embryonic production.
Vitamin A helps in cell differentiation and cell division
The deficiency of Vitamin A leads to night blindness and even eye inflammation.
But the overdose of Vitamin A can lead to hair loss, irritability, nausea, jaundice, headaches, spontaneous bone fractures and abdominal pain. There is a higher risk for overdose and toxicity for fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A due to the harder process of expelling excess amounts of these vitamins. As such, consumption of Vitamin A should closely adhere to the recommended daily intake as prescribed by health authorities.