The term Vitamin A has been used to describe “retinoids”, which are biologically active compounds occurring naturally in animal and plant tissues.
But let’s get things simpler. Vitamin A is one of the most underrated vitamins, but it is crucial for our bone growth, eye vision, immune system and reproduction system. Vitamin A also keeps our skin healthy and repels bacteria and viruses more effectively.
Now, vitamin A can be sourced from both animals and plants. But the difference is crucial. Animal sourced vitamin A is fat-soluble, or in simple terms, too much vitamin A from animal sources can become toxic in our body. In fruits and vegetables, vitamin A is sourced as provitamin A or compounds known as carotenoids which are then converted by our body into usable retinoids.
How Much vitamin A you need?
This is arguably the one of the trickiest questions with vitamin A. Why? Because with vitamin C, D, and E, a deficiency can lead to problems, but there is no such thing as too much. With vitamin A, you have to be careful not to get too much, since as I mentioned, it can become toxic in your body, especially if you source it from animals.
According to the Dietary Reference, an adult woman needs 700mcg (micrograms) of vitamin A per day, while an adult man needs 900mcg per day. In order to avoid side effects, one must avoid doses over 25,000 IU (international units) per day.
Now, where to source vitamin A? Some of the best choices include vegetables such as sweet potato, carrots, spinach, kale, mustard greens, beets and collard greens. With that being said, let’s take a look at vitamin A benefits.
The most important aspect why you need vitamin A is your eye health. Consuming enough vitamin A ensures the health of your eyes and improves your vision. Your eyes are better prepared to adjust to light changes, and vitamin A keeps them moist and improves your night vision.
Vitamin A also prevents common conditions like dry eyes, by helping the formation of visual purple in your eyes. Another way your eyes benefit from vitamin A is that your adaptability to brightness and darkness increases.
While healthy eyes are the first reason why we need vitamin A, the second is overall better immune system. And vitamin A comes in handy with disease-causing antigens. The vitamin improves our body immunity against infections, increases the lymphocytic response, keeps the mucous membranes moist and enhances the activity of white blood cells. Overall, vitamin A does so much for our body’s immune system, that it can be safely said that we need it as much as vitamin C.
And the best part is, vitamin A fights the infections once they are inside your body system, in addition to preventing them from entering. This way, vitamin A ensures a double core of protection for your body.
In order to better absorb antioxidants, our body needs vitamin A. The vitamin keeps your body safe from toxins and free radicals, both of which are harmful to your skin. In addition, vitamin A ensures moisture retention, prevents dryness of the skin, and protects from common skin conditions like psoriasis.
Bones and Teeth Health
Calcium is the most important mineral for our bone and teeth health, but vitamin A plays a crucial role in ensuring their health as well. Vitamin A helps by strengthening both the teeth and the bones. For the teeth, vitamin A plays a crucial role in the formation of dentin, the hard material that is located just below the surface of our teeth.
Urinary Stones Prevention
I have never suffered from urinary stones, but I know few friends that have. And I can safely say, the look on their face when they were experiencing pain is not something I would love to go through. I’ve been told that urinary stones pain is one of the worst pain you can experience. Luckily for me, I get enough vitamin A to prevent the formation of urinary calculi. In addition, vitamin A also keeps the lining of the urinary tract in shape.
Muscular Dystrophy Prevention
First of all, there is no cure for muscular dystrophy. Luckily, you can prevent one of the worst conditions. Muscular dystrophy is a progressive weakening and wasting of your muscles that occurs as a result of weak bones. Since one of the vitamin A benefits is keeping our bones healthy and retaining their shape, muscles can grow and develop properly. Muscular dystrophy occurs in young teens and children, as the period is most crucial for their development.
Now, I mentioned that vitamin A helps keep our skin healthy. One of the “side effects” is that vitamin A cuts down excess sebum production, which in the end, reduces the risk of acne in teenagers and adults. Vitamin A also plays a key role in reinforcing the protective tissues of our skin.