Vitamin A: All You Wanted To Know About It

You must have all heard people say that eating carrots will improve your vision. Why do the people say that? Because it contains vitamin A and vitamin A is good for the eyes. Retinol, or as vitamin is also known, helps the eye in adjusting to the available light. It also helps to keep the eye and all the mucous membranes moist.

Normally, vitamin A is derived from animal sources. The plant sources of vitamin A come in the form of beta-carotene, a powerful anti oxidant. It is converted to vitamin A in the body.

The anti oxidant properties help to neutralize free radicals which are the main causes of tissue and cell damage. These days’ researches are showing signs of beta-carotene proving helpful to people who are suffering from coronary artery disease. However, it is still in the research stage and at this moment it is not recommended for use.

Some sources of vitamin A are –
•    Fortified milk
•    Cheddar cheese
•    Egg yolk
•    Beef liver

The common sources of beta carotene are –
•    Carrots
•    Pumpkins
•    Apricots
•    Cantaloupe
•    Broccoli
•    Spinach
•    Sweet potato

Deficiency of vitamin A can cause night blindness, eye inflammation and diarrhea, whereas excess may cause blurred vision, nausea and irritability.

The recommended amount of any vitamin or minerals should not be exceeded. It can cause various problems. You should also know that vitamin is a fat soluble vitamin and it can be stored. But if it gets stored in the fat tissues of the liver it can cause problems.

Also large doses of vitamin A can cause toxicity. In the post menopausal women, any overdose of vitamin A can cause weakness of the bones and increase the chance of fractures. Some people find it difficult to absorb vitamins and this is normally seen in cases of people suffering from chronic illness.

If you want to get the maximum out of the food you eat, then you will have to take care of the way food is preserved and cooked. Generally, the maximum loss of nutrients is caused during preparation of food. If you can refrigerate fresh products and store milk and grains away from strong light then they can retain most of the vitamin content.