Know Your Nutrients: Vitamin A

6 February 2017

Vitamin A is one of the most essential Vitamins required by our body. Vitamin A is essential for numerous functions and processes in the body.

Vitamin A is a strong antioxidant. It is a compound that is comprised of a broad group of unsaturated nutritional compound. Most of the people call it the ‘natural slow aging agent’ this is because it helps to maintain the immune system, good vision and growth development. Vitamin A may be all you need to look young and age gradually.


Basic Forms of Vitamin A

Vitamin A is in two basic forms Previtamin and Provitamin.

Previtamin A is the retinoid found in animal foods. Retinoid have three actives form the retinal, retinol and retinoic. They can be used directly by the body and does not need to be converted.

Foods rich in retinoid include milk, shrimp, eggs, salmon, halibut, cheese, yogurt, scallops, sardines, tuna, cod, and chicken.

Provitamin A is carotenoids found in plants mainly fruit and vegetables such as squash, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables. Carotenoids have to be converted first by the body into retinal after ingestion for the body to utilize.

Effects of Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency symptoms are poor eye vision, premature skin damage, respiratory infection and gastrointestinal infection and at risk pregnancy (that can lead to night blindness for the mother) and thyroid dysfunction.

Furthermore, it can lead to gluten sensitive issues, leaky gut syndrome, auto-immune response and long term malabsorption of fats.

Is Vitamin A that Essential?

Vitamin A is very essential and plays an important for vision. It is required for the formation of the photoreceptor rhodopsin, which is a complex of retinal and the vision protein opsin, where retinal functions as the chromophore.  When light passes through the lens, it is sensed in the retina by both rod cells (black and white vision) and cone cells (colour vision).   Red cells are especially important for night vision as they can detect very small amounts of light preventing night blindness.

Also eye also needs vitamin A to nourish other parts of your eye, including the cornea, the clear covering on the front of your eye. Without enough vitamin A, your eyes cannot produce enough moisture to keep them properly lubricated.

Vitamin A role in the body is treatment and improvement of photo damaged skin pretreatment with retinoid might prevent ultraviolet (UV)-induced damage in the first place. Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) damages skin via many mechanisms, one way UVR contributes to photo damage is by modulating signaling pathways that influence collagen homeostasis in skin cells.

Retinoid lead to visible improvement in fine wrinkling, smoothness, and hyper-pigmentation of photo damaged skin. retinoid induce a number of histological changes in both the epidermis and dermis hence the name ‘natural slow aging agent’.

Other benefits of Vitamin A include:-


  • Supports your immunity
  • Helps prevent cancer
  • Promotes skin health and cell growth.
  • Fights inflammation
  • Acts as an Antioxidant
  • Maintains white blood cells.
  • Essential for maintainance of Bones, teeth, soft tissue


Foods High in Vitamin A

  • Kale

Kale is much more than just a regular garnish ingredient. Kale is one of the appetizing and nutrient-rich vegetables, which definitely deserve a place in your meal. Kale can create wonders for your health, including helping you meet and double the amount of Vitamin A that is required for the day. A one cup serving of kale contains around 200% of what the average person requires.

  • Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are as resourceful as they are full of flavor. Most of the people consume them plain or dressed with veggie dip. You can also include them in pasta dishes, salads and scrambled eggs. Doesn’t matter how you consume them, you’ll have all the health benefits they provide to your body. Red bell peppers are known to be high in antioxidants including Vitamin C, lycopene, and Vitamin A.

  • Carrots

Carrots are among the best sources of Vitamin A. Consuming a lot of carrots can help improve your eyesight naturally. One medium carrot has over 200% of the average person’s daily requirement of Vitamin A. Carrots are also an excellent source of Vitamins B, C, and K. It also has a good amount of Fiber and Magnesium in it.

  • Sweet Potato as a Rich Source of Vitamin A

Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, especially at the time of winters. This vegetable is a rich source of vitamin A. A single sweet potato is sufficient to meet your daily requirement of Vitamin A intake. It contains beta-carotene, which helps in protecting you from free radical damage.

  • Spinach

Include spinach in your diet each day to fulfill the requirement of Vitamin A. Spinach is an excellent boost to many aspects of your health. In particular, you can be sure of Vitamin A requirement by enjoying a one-cup serving of spinach daily. Spinach contains 49% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin A. Spinach also fills your body with Vitamin C and K, Manganese, Calcium, and Iron.

  • Tomatoes

From a botanical point of view, tomatoes are a fruit. Although most of the people consider them to be a vegetable. Consider them fruit, vegetable or anything, you should include them in your diet. This is because, they’re low in calories and high in numerous Minerals and Vitamins. Just a medium tomato can provide you with 20% of your daily need of Vitamin A. They’re also a rich source of Vitamin C and lycopene.

You can read more on Foods rich in vitamin a.