Our body requires a range of minerals and vitamins in order to function smoothly. Among some of the main essential vitamins that are important for the human body are Vitamins A, B, C and D. All these vitamins perform different functions inside our bodies and the deficiencies of these may result in a number of ailments, both mild and serious. From immunity to eye and skin health and even mental health, the presence (or absence) of these essential vitamins can control some of the most essential functions of the human body. These vitamins are mainly derived from food sources, both animal and plant-based and a diet is only considered healthy and balanced, when it contains adequate amounts of all these vitamins, along with minerals as well as the macro-nutrients- fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
What Is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is one of the essential vitamins required by the body. It is fat-soluble in nature and is usually stored in the liver. The daily requirements for this vitamin can be easily met by consuming a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. There are two different types of Vitamin A- Preformed Vitamin A and Provitamin A. Preformed Vitamin A is also known as retinol and it can be used up directly by the body. Meanwhile, Provitamin A is also known as carotenoids, which, after being consumed, are converted to retinol in the body. Dairy products and poultry like eggs, milk, chicken, are rich in retinol. Meanwhile, carotenoids are present in vegetables and fruits. The Required Dietary or Daily Allowance for Vitamin A varies according to age of the person. Additionally, the RDAs for Vitamin A are especially prescribed for pregnant women, as well as lactating mothers.
Also Read: 5 Hidden Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency Often Ignored
Vitamin A foods are important for pregnant women
Vitamin A Uses and Benefits
Despite being abundantly available in foods, one-third of the world’s children under the age of five, suffer from its deficiency, according to a 2009 World Health Organisation’s global database on Vitamin A Deficiency. This deficiency has also been known to be fatal to kids, and has also been held responsible for causing preventable childhood blindness, particularly in South East Asian and Africa (as per a 2013 report by the National Institutes of Health). Numerous scientific studies have pointed at the health benefits of consuming adequate vitamin A, as part of your daily diet.
Also Read: Vitamins for Skin: A Guide to a Healthier, Radiant You
Let’s look at some of the important roles and benefits of consuming Vitamin A:
1. Eye Health
Vitamin A is responsible for maintaining eye health, as it converts the light entering our eyes into electrical signals that can be then interpreted by the brain. Additionally, Vitamin A is a component of the pigment rhodopsin, which is found in the retina of the eye and is said to be photosensitive.