Vitamin A is an essential nutrient, meaning that the body can not make it and we must get it from our diet or supplements. Vitamin A is perhaps best known for its importance to our vision, but is also important for other body systems and functions
The function of vitamin A
The cells in our eyes perceive require light and color vitamin A to function properly. In fact, one of the first signs of vitamin A deficiency poor night vision, and if left untreated, vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness. Vitamin A supports skin cells and the development of healthy bone tissue. Vitamin A is also an essential nutrient for healthy immune system function. It protects and supports cell membranes to fight infection and increases white blood cell activity
Vitamin A Beta-carotene
In addition to vitamin A, there are dozens of other nutrients -. Called carotenoids-that is converted to vitamin A in the body and therefore have vitamin A “activity.” The most famous of these carotenoids are beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a non-toxic nutrient that is converted to vitamin A in the body as needed. If the body’s storage of vitamin A is sufficient, the beta-carotene is not converted to vitamin A. Beta carotene also benefits for themselves, acts as an antioxidant that protects body cells against free radicals.
Beta -Carotene as Vitamin A Supplement
It is often recommended to supplement with beta-carotene than vitamin A, because beta-carotene does not have any toxic side effects at high doses. Vitamin A, on the other hand, if taken in large doses (more than 25 000 IU per day) for a long time, can cause liver damage, headache and hair loss. If you take excess of beta-carotene, can experience the development of a temporary orange color of your skin. This effect is harmless and will disappear if you reduce beta-carotene intake.
Prevention of vitamin A deficiency
To ensure you are obtaining enough vitamin A, make sure that you take 25,000 IU of beta carotene daily, either alone or as part of a daily multivitamin. If you try to avoid getting sick during cold and flu season, you can supplement with 5,000 IU of vitamin A daily (adults only), but not continue this dose more than a week without consulting your doctor and always consult your doctor before take vitamin A if you are monitored for any health condition.
Those living with Crohn’s disease, celiac disease or other malabsorption syndromes can develop a lack of vitamin A, in addition to other nutrients. Deficiencies may not serious enough to attract attention, but might prevent you from being as healthy as you can be. Talk to your doctor about your need for extra nutritious supplements if you are treated or monitored for any chronic health condition
Warning:. Pregnancy and Vitamin A
High levels of vitamin A taken during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects, including heart and nervous system abnormalities, especially in the first trimester. It is therefore important to avoid direct vitamin A supplements if it is possible for you to become pregnant or are actively trying to become pregnant. Because vitamin A can be found in many processed foods, either limit the amount of vitamin A to less than 5,000 IU daily from supplements or taking beta-carotene instead.