What is vitamin A?
Vitamin A, or retinol, is part of the fat-soluble compounds, which are stored in the liver and released in small doses whenever necessary. Therefore, it is not necessary to take them on a regular basis, such as through foods.
There are at least 1,500 different types of Vitamin A, such as retinoids, known as retinol, retinal, retinoic acid and related compounds.
What is the role of vitamin A?
Vitamin A or retinol is of fundamental importance due to its precursors, carotenoids. The carotenoids are a part of the components of rhodopsin, a substance of the retina that protects the eyes from light sensitivity.
Vitamin A is also useful for bone strength and development (growth of teeth) and is distinguished by its ability to provide an immune response in the body. Recent scientific findings have shown that vitamin A also has an anti-tumour shield capacity.
Which foods are rich in vitamin A?
Vitamin A or retinol is present mainly in foods of animal origin such as liver, dairy products (milk, butter and cheese) and eggs.
It is also present in fruits and vegetables such as apricots, carrots, watermelon, berries and tomatoes (red, yellow and orange pigment).
Vitamin A is sensitive to heat and its quality may be lost during cooking, which is why it should be consumed raw or after being cooked for a short period of time.
What is the daily requirement of vitamin A intake?
The daily requirement of vitamin A or retinol is about 0.6-0.7 mg (can increase up to 0.95mg during lactation).
Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A or retinol deficiency can cause visual impairment and in time, can lead to blindness.
In general, vitamin A deficiency can lead to delayed growth and development and may cause severe sensitivity to infection. In women who are pregnant, it can lead to fetal malformations.
Excessive vitamin A intake
High storage levels of vitamin A can accumulate in the liver and create hypervitamnosis problems, which can further lead to damage to the liver and spleen.