Vitamin A is often considered a single nutrient, but it is a group of fat-soluble compounds that includes retinol, retinal, and retinyl esters. In food, there are two types of Vitamin A. Firstly, Preformed Vitamin A consists of retinol and retinyl esters that are exclusively found in animal products such as fish, liver, and dairy. Provitamin A Carotenoids is majorly in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, and oils. The body must convert all Vitamin A into retinal and retinoic acid in both forms, which are the active forms of the vitamin. It is stored in body tissues for later use as Vitamin A is fat-soluble.
The Function Of Vitamin A In The Body
Vitamin A is essential for a person’s health, immunological function, cell growth, vision, and prenatal development. However, eyesight and eye health are two of Vitamin A’s most well-known roles. Retinal (the active form of vitamin A) and Protein Opsin combine to generate Rhodopsin, a molecule required for low-light vision and color vision. It also protects and maintains the conjunctiva (a thin membrane that covers the surface of your eye and inside your eyelids) and cornea (your eye’s outermost layer).
Vitamin A protects and maintains surface tissues such as your skin, lungs, bladder, intestines, and inner ear. It also promotes immunological activities by promoting the formation and distribution of T-cells (a type of white blood cell that defends your body against infection). Vitamin A also protects healthy skin cells, embryonic development, and male and female reproduction.
Benefits Of Vitamin A
Here are a few benefits you should learn about.
• Strong antioxidants – beta–carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin are Provitamin A Carotenoids and have antioxidant properties. Highly reactive molecules such as free radicals that harm your body by creating oxidative stress can be fought with the help of carotenoids. Various chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, and cognitive decline, linked with oxidative stress, can be reduced by taking a diet rich in carotenoids.
• Prevents macular degeneration and essential for eye health – certain eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (ADM) can be protected by taking adequate intake of Vitamin A.
• Necessary for fertility and fetal development – Vitamin A plays a very important role in sperm and egg development in both male and female reproduction. To those who are trying to conceive, fetal health and maternal health, Vitamin A is integral.
• Booster for Immune System – Immune health by stimulating responses that protect your body from illness and injection is impacted by Vitamin A.
Food Sources For Vitamin A
For both Preformed Vitamin A and Provitamin A Carotenoids, there are many dietary sources available.
The foods with the highest Preformed Vitamin A are – egg yolks, butter, beef liver, salmon, trout, king mackerel, cheddar cheese, chicken liver, cod liver oil, liverwurst.
Foods rich in Provitamin A Carotenoids are – kale, carrot, cabbage, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, swiss chard, dandelion greens, parsley, red peppers, butternut squash, collard greens.
A fat-soluble Vitamin A is an important nutrient for immune functions, reproduction, eye health, and fetal development. There are side effects attached to both surplus and deficit intake of Vitamin A. A well-balanced and healthy diet is a great way to meet the nutrient requirement of a body.