Vitamin A is also known as Retinol, the miracle vitamin. It’s a miracle vitamin especially for females as it is behind a radiant, clear and smooth skin and thick, strong and shiny hair. Vitamin A is also an essential micronutrient. An essential vitamin means it’s not produced naturally by the body or the gut microbiota and should be taken from animal or plant sources. Micronutrient means the body only needs a tiny amount of it compared with other nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Vitamin A is measured by micrograms (μg, mcg), not milligrams (mg). It is a fat-soluble vitamin, best absorbed along with fat-rich food, and it is stored within fat cells inside the body. Provitamin A is called carotenoids have over 600 kinds.
Vitamin A plays a significant role in eye health, which makes its deficiency very dangerous, as it may lead to irreversible blindness. Thus, it is important to increase our knowledge about this vitamin and understand how it works, how to treat and prevent its deficiency and the consequences that come after that.
Why vitamin A, and what benefits does it have?
• Acts as antioxidant
Antioxidants are substances that reduce and remove harmful molecules from cells to protect them from aging and degeneration. Vitamin A is an excellent source for antioxidants; it delays the aging processes, reducing the incidence of premature aging, the appearance of wrinkles, and at the same time protects against cancers because it supports cell growth and differentiation.
• Protect the vision
It has a critical role in protecting eyesight, as it is an essential component of a retinal protein that helps absorbing light in retinal receptors. Thus, adequate vitamin A intake can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by 25%.
• Helps with the immune system
• Important for the skin
It is an all-round skin savior. It improves the appearance of dry skin, speeds up the healing process of wounds, fights acne and reduces the signs of premature aging. Topical vitamin A helps with acne, reduces wrinkles and pigmentation, boosts collagen and hydration, and helps against skin cancer.
• Essential for fetus development
That is because vitamin A plays a significant role in regulating cell development and brain growth. However, vitamin A supplements intake should be monitored during pregnancy as it may increase vitamin A over the limit and lead to birth deformities, which are mainly neural tube defects.
• Helps with infertility
It is essential for the maintenance of both male and female reproductive systems. Vitamin A helps with spermatogenesis and the development of the fetus. Some studies have shown that females with infertility have a better chance to conceive after adequate intake of vitamin A.
• Helps with anemia
Because it metabolizes and releases stored iron with the body to make it available to use.
• Important for bone growth
Vitamin A is essential for the growth of osteoblasts, the building unit of the bone, and it helps with calcium deposition in the bone.
• Good for hair
It is responsible for hair cell growth. Vitamin A helps to moisturize the scalp as it produces the sebum, an oily substance. It also reduces hair breakage, giving rise to a shiny, thicker, fuller hair while preventing scalp dryness, which protects against hair loss.
» Now, let’s discuss the sources of vitamin A.