Vitamin A deficiency signs are a common problem worldwide. Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that is needed by the body in adequate quantities to perform vital bodily functions. Typically stored in the liver, this essential vitamin is also a potent antioxidant and plays a crucial role in:
- Ensuring proper vision
- Maintaining good health
- Building strong immunity
- Preventing anaemia, to name a few
Two types of vitamin A are found in foods:
- Preformed Vitamin A also called Retinol
- Provitamin A also called Carotenoids (which needs to be converted by the body into retinol)
While the pre-formed A is found in animal products such as meat, fish, dairy products, and poultry, provitamin A is found in plant-based products, fruits, and veggies.
Beta-carotene is a popular and most important carotenoid that gets converted more efficiently than the others. Bright yellow and orange-coloured fruits such as papaya and apricots are rich sources of beta-carotene.
Warning Signals when your body is not getting enough Vitamin A
People who are deficient in Vitamin A generally show the following symptoms:
- Dandruff and dry hair
- Mouth ulcers
- Throat infections
- Acne, and dry skin
- Recurring skin infections
- Night blindness etc.
How much vitamin A does my body need?
Typically, the amount of vitamin A needed by the body depends on the age of the person and reproductive status.
However, prescribed intakes include:
- For females – About 700 micrograms of retinol activity equivalents
- For nursing mothers – About 1300 micrograms of retinol activity equivalents
- For males – About 900 micrograms of retinol activity equivalents
To match up the above levels, one needs to add the following food items to their diet:
- Feta cheese
- Sweet potato
- Melons especially watermelons
- Passion fruit
- Sweet red pepper etc.
Since this is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is easily absorbed into the bloodstream when it is consumed with a dash of oil. So, you can up the absorption of plant-based vitamin A by spilling a few drops of oil on your salad.