Vitamin A function and is it fat-soluble?
Vitamins are essential nutrients for your body. There is an unusual incident related to the Vitamin.
During World War II, the British popularized a myth that eating carrots that are rich in Vitamin A enabled their soldiers to see better at night. Now, in reality, there is no superpower related to the nutrient. But yes, various Vitamin A functions ensure a healthy body and mind.
Vitamin A is a group of compounds that are of immense benefit to the human body. The group of organic compounds comprises retinol, retinoic acid, retinal, and many other pro-vitamin A carotenoids, including beta-carotene.
Popular because of its numerous advantages, the Vitamin has many roles to play in the body.
But before you start consuming a Vitamin A rich diet, get to know all relevant facts related to it like Is Vitamin A fat-soluble?
- Yes, Vitamin A is fat-soluble and stored in the liver. Here is other detailed information about the benefits, sources, deficiency, and dosage of Vitamin A to enable you to enjoy its immense benefits.
Vitamin A for hair growth skin and cream for acne
Vitamin A has numerous positive effects on the normal functioning of the human body as it aids the heart, kidneys, lungs, and other organs to work correctly.
It is beneficial to growth, cell division, reproduction, bone health, prevention of fractures, and immune system.
Vitamin A helps strengthen the natural defenses, including the mucous barriers in the eyes, gut, lungs, and genital trapping bacteria and other infection-causing agents.
- It works as an antioxidant that helps fight against the free radicals in the body responsible for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Also, by keeping the blood vessels cholesterol-free, it further decreases the chances of heart disease and stroke.
- The nutrient helps to prevent and reduce asthma symptoms. Scientists conducting research are advocating the role of Vitamin A in preventing some types of cancer, such as the prostate, lungs, and colon. It is known to be important for improving vision, so it is advisable to consume Vitamin A for eyes.
Vitamin A supplements are also being studied for slowing down Age-related macular degeneration and as a reliever during measles in Vitamin A deficient children.
- Vitamin also is valuable for beauty too. Vitamin A and hair growth are deeply related as it aids the scalp to produce healthy sebum that plays a vital role in nourishing and protecting hair. Vitamin A in hair loss helps strengthen the hair and reduce breakage.
- Also, Vitamin A on skin has its own set of usefulness. Apart from the beneficial health effects of consuming it, Vitamin A cream is also used for topical application for reducing roughness, blemishes, and fine wrinkles.
- Vitamin A acne creams are top-rated too. So, in case you are facing issues related to hair, skin, or health, the inclusion of Vitamin A in your diet could help solve the problem.
Foods and sources
Vitamin A is available in two forms as Pro-vitamin A and Preformed Vitamin A. As, you know, foods with Vitamin A are sourced from the plant as well as animal products.
- The Vitamin A found in animal products are called Preformed Vitamin A and those sourced from plants are called Pro-vitamin A. Pro-vitamin A is found in tomatoes, mango, apricots, red bell pepper, cantaloupe, leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, as well as yellow and orange vegetables. There is also a high content of Vitamin A in carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, winter squash, summer squash, and other yellow and orange vegetables.
The most common type of plant-based Vitamin A is beta-carotene in foods as well as dietary supplements.
- Preformed Vitamin A sources comprise of meat, fish, beef liver, dairy products, poultry, and fortified food, including fortified breakfast cereals. Although Vitamin A rich foods are considered the best sources of natural Vitamin A, beef liver and other organ meats have high cholesterol, so it is essential to limit their intake.
However, you could also intake Vitamin A supplements, according to need. There are various safe and beneficial supplements available in the market. The supplements are available in the form of preformed Vitamin A, pro-vitamin A, and a combination of both. Most of the multivitamin-mineral supplements contain Vitamin A too along with other nutrients.
You could choose any of the above supplements in consultation with a professional medical practitioner and correct dosage.
Vitamin A during breastfeeding and pregnancy
The suggested dosage of Vitamin A in a day depends on your age and sex. You need more Vitamin A during breastfeeding and pregnancy or if you are suffering from a particular health condition.
- The daily dosage recommended of Vitamin A for an adult male is 900 mcg and 700 mcg for an adult female.
- Too less or too much intake of the Vitamin can be harmful to your health, causing deficiency or toxicity, respectively. Vitamin A deficiency is almost absent in developed countries, but there are some developing and underdeveloped countries where the problem persists. The most common symptom of the weakness is Xerophthalmia, an eye condition that results in a lack of vision in low light, which can lead to blindness if not treated timely.
Other symptoms, frequent infections, dry skin, acne, skin breakouts, night blindness dry eyes, delayed growth, and infertility.
Though very rare in most countries, there are certain groups of people who have a higher risk of deficiency in comparison to others. The risk groups include breastfeeding females, pregnant women, people with cystic fibrosis, young children, infants, especially premature infants.
Now, if you consume an excess of Vitamin A supplements for over a long time, it becomes dangerous leading to toxicity. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so its surplus is not excreted but instead absorbs it, storing it in the liver.
Hypervitaminosis A or Vitamin A toxicity could cause vision changes, dry and rough skin, confusion, mouth ulcers, and swelling of bones.
It would help if you were especially careful while taking Vitamin A during breastfeeding and pregnancy as excess consumption of the Vitamin during pregnancy is linked to congenital disabilities.
So, it is advisable to take Vitamin A supplements according to the dosage recommended by the doctor.
Is Vitamin A water-soluble?
So, with the enormous range of benefits, Vitamin A should inevitably form part of your regular meal. But, it is crucial to fully understand how to consume it and that too in the right quantity.
Firstly, plant-based Vitamin A is a great source as well as the ones sourced from animals. You will have to be careful not to have animal products like beef liver, etc. in large amounts as that may cause a disadvantage with the high cholesterol content.
- Now, is Vitamin A water-soluble? The answer is no; Vitamin A is not water-soluble. Instead, it is fat-soluble, which means it will be stored in the body. So, you need to regulate the intake of Vitamin A supplements to a suitable amount to prevent an overdose. It would be best if you remembered that the excess and deficiency of Vitamin A intake are both harmful to health. As in the case of pregnant females, Vitamin A is essential for the development of major organs and structures of the unborn baby in the womb.
Deficiency and excess both result in the developmental problems of the unborn child. Consult a doctor who could advise the suitability and dosage of the supplements based on your health condition.
Vitamin A supplements interfere with certain medications too. Generally, Vitamin A from food alone does not result in overconsumption to the level of toxicity.
So the best way to ensure that you have the right amount of the nutrient in your body is to consume Vitamin A rich foods as part of your daily meal to get good health along with great skin and hair.
Eat right and exercise regularly to be fit and healthy. Stay away from smoking and other harmful habits and follow a healthy lifestyle.
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