What Does Vitamin A Do For Your Body?

Vitamin AVitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient that has antioxidant properties. Being fat-soluble means that it can be stored by the body and released as needed so a daily intake it is not essential. Vitamin A is stored mainly in the liver and comes in two different forms.

  • Carotonoids

Carotonoids are obtained through certain fruits and vegetables that the body needs to modify before being stored by the liver, beta carotene being the most common form of carotonoids found in plants.

  • Retinoids

Retinoids are derived from animal products and can be stored directly into the liver ready to released to all parts of the body as and when needed. All forms of Vitamin A have antioxidant properties which means that they are valuable in reducing the risk of cancer.

How the Body Uses Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is vital to the immune system in the formation of white blood cells which fight diseases caused by bacteria and viruses.

It is also important in both bone development and vision. It is involved in the formation of the pigments in the eye that sense and adjust to changes in the light. Deteriorating night vision problems are a symptom of Vitamin A deficiency.

Other deficiency problems can lead to respiratory disorders, infections, diarrhoea and skin disorders but are rare in the industrialised nations where malnutrition is not a problem. Iron and zinc play an important role in the bodys ability to absorb and direct Vitamin A to the parts where it is needed. Intestinal and liver diseases and alcohol also affect the bodys ability to absorb Vitamin A.

What Foods are Good Sources of Vitamin A?

Yellow and orange colored fruits and vegetables are good sources of beta carotene, other dark green leafy vegetables are also excellent vitamin A sources. Carrots, Sweet Potato,Yams, Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Mangoes, Papaya, Cantaloupes, Apricots and Oranges are amongst our preferences.

Principal animal sources are Liver from Beef, Pork Chicken etc., Eggs, Cream and Milk, Cheese and Cod Liver Oil but watch out for cholesterol levels in animal products. Also many breakfast cereals and some other processed foods are fortified with Vitamin A.

Can Too Much Vitamin A be Dangerous to Health?

Yes! An excess of Vitamin A, known as Hypervitaminosis, can cause a variety of serious health problems. Amongst these are birth defects, osteoporosis, liver problems and too much can affect the central nervous system.

Vitamin A toxicity cannot occur if the body’s major source of the vitamin is derived from fruit and vegetables because the body needs to convert their carotonoids to retinoids before the liver is able to store them.

If there is sufficient Vitamin A stored in the liver then the body will not convert the carotonoids. Best to avoid the temptation to over indulge on animal products to boost your vitamin A.

Suggested Reading
What Does Vitamin C Do For Your Body?
What Does Vitamin D Do For Your Body?
What Does Vitamin K Do For Your Body?


Category: Vitamins

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Hi ! I'm Jaks and I am the writer for this site. To be completely healthy and fit you must keep your body moving and active and most of all eating the correct food is vital. Learn more about this site

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