Vitamins And Minerals: What Is Vitamin A?

Are you getting enough A vitamins and minerals in your diet? Find out more about Vitamin A and its essential role in the human body.

Vitamin A comes in several forms, and it is alternately known by the names beta-carotene, retinoic acid, retinol, retinol palmitate, carotenoids etretinare and isotretinon. Vitamin A plays an integral role in the human body in the formation of strong bones and normal growth patterns. It is also essential to the proper development of teeth in children. Vitamin A helps the human body maintain a normal cell structure, which is imperative to retain normal vision. Vitamin A is also a major factor in healthy skin development and maintenance, and it also is a factor in the protection of mucous membranes in the linings of the mouth and nose. Vitamin A also helps protect the delicate lining of the lungs, throat, and both the urinary and digestive tracts. Vitamin A helps protect these areas against infection. Additionally, without Vitamin A, the fertility of both sexes can become compromised.

The dietary sources for Vitamin A are vast and varied. However, the absolute best source of dietary Vitamin A can be found in the consumption of milk and dairy products. Other excellent sources of Vitamin A can be found in fish, liver, and eggs. Vegetable sources are also a wonderful dietary addition of Vitamin A, such as carrots and squash, as well as the green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli. Apricots and peachs are also prime dietary sources of this Vitamin, and it is often added in store bought margarine.

Even though it is so important to proper functioning of the human organism, Vitamin A deficiency does occur in the form of night blindness. Other symptoms of deficiency manifest in the form of dry skin, or rough skin, along with a loss of apetite and prolonged diarrhea. Severe deficiency may lead to ulcers in the cornea, as eyes can become extremely dry and inflamed. Vitamin A deficiency can also weaken teeth and bones and lower resistance to infections.

Recommended intakes of Vitamin A vary, but the common agreement among professionals seems to be about 4,00 to 5,000 IU a day in a healthy adult. Depending on severity of deficiency, doseage can range from 5,000 - 30,000 IU daily, but excess intake of this Vitamin for even a short time can cause severe problems throughout the human body. Of course, before starting any form of supplementation you should consult your health care practitioner.

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