February 21, 2011

benefits of vitamin aVitamin A is actually a group of chemical compounds, which were first discovered and studied in the beginning of the 20th century. It is known as the vitamin which is essential for our good vision, but also it is responsible for our good bone, muscle and tissue health. Benefits of vitamin A include its being one of the most important vitamins for effective function of our reproductive system. Food sources of vitamin A include a number of animal foods (especially animal liver and fish liver), as well as carrots, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cheeses, butter, milk, eggs, apricots, mango, papaya and so on.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin which has two most common forms classified according to the source it is derived from.

  • retinol, which can be found only in animal food sources of vitamin A.
  • carotene, or the carotenes, special substances which can be easily converted to retinal, another type of vitamin A.

This vitamin is stored in fat tissues in our body and can stay there for a few days or a few months. Vitamin A deficiency is something pretty rare in Europe and the US in our times (but not in the developing countries), and it can be indicated by such signs as blurred vision, eye inflammation and so on. Another extreme situation, vitamin A overdose, can be spotted by such symptoms as nausea, irritability, or even allergic reactions on the palms and the bottom of the feet. Remember that taking too much of vitamin A usually leads to toxicity.

food sources of vitamin aRecommended daily dose of vitamin A is defined by the U.S. Institute for Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences as the following (the stated daily doses are minimal):

  • infants: 350-450 mcg/day
  • children below 3 years of age: 300 mcg/day
  • children from 4 to 8 years of age: 400 mcg/day
  • children from 9 to 13 years of age: 600 mcg/day
  • females above 14 years of age: 700 mcg/day
  • males above 14 years of age: 900 mcg/day

Benefits of vitamin A embrace such factors as supporting our immune system and stimulating tissue cell differentiation, development and growth. Besides, this vitamin is very important for effective red blood cell production. Also, vitamin A plays an important role for our skin health, that is why various derivatives of this substance are quite frequently used in skin creams, skin tonics and other skin care products. Remember that receiving this substance from natural food sources of vitamin A is always preferable, but those who can’t receive necessary amounts of this vitamin from foods should use vitamin A supplements (only upon recommendation and after talking to your doctor or a health care specialist).

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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