Increase Vitamin A Intake in Your Diet

carrotsVitamin A is one of the essential nutrients needed by the body. It actually refers to a family of compounds called retiniods. Vitamin A can be found in several forms. A major form is retinyl palmitate which is converted into an alcohol form called retinol in the small intestine. It can also exist as an aldehyde in the form of retinal, or acid in the form of retinoic acid. Some compounds such as caroteniods can also be converted into vitamin A.

Importance of vitamins A

An essential nutrient such as vitamin A has many uses in the human body. This nutrient plays several roles in various functions that make the body work normally. One of the most important role that vitamin A plays is that on a person’s vision. Vitamin a in the form of retinol helps in making human vision adaptable to darkness. Inadequate retinol in the retina can result in night blindness.

Vitamin A in the form of retinoic acid also has a role in gene transcription. The body uses retinoic acid in cell differentiation, a process in which cells are specifically converted for highly specific physiological roles in the body. Vitamin A is also known to be an anti-infective vitamin. It is an essential nutrient required by the immune system in order to function normally. Vitamin A in the form of retinol is required by the skin in order to maintain cell integrity and function to make the skin more effective as the body’s first line of defense.

Sources of Vitamin A

The body requires a daily dose of vitamin a in order to ensure it proper and normal functions. Men need about 2,600 IU on a daily basis while women need 3,300 IU of vitamin A. In order to get the required amounts, it is important that people know which foods are good sources of vitamin A.

Naturally, Vitamin A can be found in a wide variety of foods. Rich sources of the said nutrient include vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, pumpkins, collard greens, spinach and squash. Other good sources include liver, eggs, sweet potatoes, cod liver oil, dairy products, and fortified breakfast cereals. Others may prefer getting their daily dose of vitamin A by taking nutritional supplements.

Increasing vitamin A intake may help avoid a deficiency in this essential nutrient which can lead to a variety of conditions such as dry skin, night blindness and reproductive problems. But care should also be taken not to take too much vitamin A for long periods of time. Too much vitamin A in the system can also be toxic and may not be good for the body. It would be better and safer that vitamin A should be sourced more from the diet instead of taking supplements for it which can increase the risk of an overdose.