The Effects Of Vitamin A Deficiency

Certain groups of people are at an increased risk of developing a Vitamin A deficiency.

A vitamin A deficiency can occur when people do not consume enough vitamin A or beta-carotene. There are several noticeable signs that can indicate you are developing a vitamin A deficiency. Some of the first symptoms that may be noticed include dry hair, dry skin, and brittle nails. A low resistance to infections can also be a sign of a vitamin A deficiency. Poor night vision or a decreased ability to see in poorly lit areas is another symptom that can be associated with the deficiency. A vitamin A deficiency that goes long term without treatment can lead to complete blindness.

Certain groups of people are at a higher risk of developing a vitamin A deficiency. People who suffer from cystic fibrosis and pancreatic problems are among the higher at risk. There is also an increased risk for alcoholics because of the effects alcohol can have on your body's ability to use vitamin A properly. Toddlers and children who are living at poverty level and not getting proper nutrition are also among the higher at risk.

Vitamin A performs two functions within the body. It is an eye component that allows for night vision and vision in poorly lit areas. It is also used to regulate the growth of tissue in the body. Some examples of the tissue that vitamin A regulates growth for would include the skin's cells and the lining of the lungs.

Some of the best sources for vitamin A and beta-carotene can be found in foods we eat almost every day. Any food that contains beta-carotene works just as well because beta-carotene is almost immediately converted to vitamin A in our bodies. In fact, beta-carotene can be used as a complete source of vitamin A. Eggs, milk, butter, fish, and liver are some great sources for getting the proper amount of vitamin A you need on a daily basis. Some great sources for beta-carotene include carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin A deficiency, once diagnosed, can be treated effectively. Vitamin supplements and injections are both used to treat vitamin deficiencies in people. Once treated, the chances of reversing night blindness are great. Total blindness, however, is irreversible and will not benefit from diet or vitamin therapy. Any tissue death associated with the deficiency, also, cannot be treated or cured.

Prevention is always the best way to reduce your chances of developing a vitamin A deficiency. By eating foods that are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, you can greatly reduce your chances of a deficiency. Not to mention, it will help your hair, skin, and nails look wonderful. If you are not one of those people who is always faithful about following recommended diets, vitamin supplements can also be a great way to get the recommended amount of vitamin A. Also, limiting alcohol is a great help as alcohol can negatively interact with the body's ability to properly use vitamin A.

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