Vitamin A : Top Benefits And Deficiency Complications

Vitamin A or retinol is important for normal growth, healthy skin, hair and nails, and proper functioning of the eyes and immune system. An excess of vitamin A can be harmful to children and pregnant women.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin A is found in animal products and is mainly found in liver. The body also makes its own vitamin A from carotenoids. These substances are found in plant products.

What is vitamin A?

Vitamin A is fat soluble and important for normal growth, healthy skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A is also important for proper eye function and the immune system. You can find vitamin A in animal products and it is added to low-fat margarine and baking and frying products.

Forms of vitamin A

In animal products is vitamin A in the form of retinol or retinyl esters. In fruits and vegetables are carotenoids. Carotenoids are also called provitamin A, because the body can convert these substances into vitamin A. There are several forms of carotenoids: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin.

In supplements, vitamin A occurs as retinyl acetate or palmitate. There are also supplements on the market with only beta-carotene.

Absorption in the body

For proper absorption of vitamin A in the body fat is needed. Of the retinol the body absorbs 70 to 90% and of the carotenoids only 9 to 22%. The body stores vitamin A in the liver. Excess vitamin A is also partially stored in fat.

What is vitamin A in?

Vitamin A is found in animal products, such as meat and meat products, dairy products, fish and egg yolk. It is also an additive in margarine, low-fat margarine and cooking products. This is then on the label. Liver contains much vitamin A. A piece of beef liver of 100 grams, for example, contains more than 27,000 micrograms of vitamin A. Liver sausage contains about 800 to 900 micrograms of vitamin A per sandwich and liver pate about 1,000 to 1,200 micrograms of vitamin A per sandwich.

Carotenoids (provitamin A) are common in several types of vegetables, such as carrot, kale, spinach and endive.
What is vitamin A good for?

Vitamin A Benefits

  • It is good for vision, vitamin A allows your eyes to adjust to twilight
  • Contributes to a normal functioning of the immune system
  • Plays a role in the development of the unborn child and growth of children
  • Is involved in the production of skin cells and cells in your windpipe, hair, gums and lung tissue
  • Helps keep skin healthy

Vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency can cause skin problems, dull hair, night blindness and even blindness.

Too much vitamin A

Too much vitamin A can occur if you often eat liver or take supplements high in vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can cause poisoning. The symptoms are headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and abnormalities of the eyes, skin and skeleton. This concerns vitamin A from animal products and not carotenoids (provitamin A) from fruits and vegetables.

However, supplements with high doses of beta-carotene (more than 15 milligrams per day) can increase the risk of lung cancer.

In pregnant women, too much vitamin A increases the risk of birth defects in the baby.

Dietary advice

If you eat a healthy and varied you get enough vitamin A.

How much vitamin A do you need on a daily basis?

To stay healthy, the daily recommendation of vitamin A for an adult male 800 micrograms and for an adult female 680 micrograms. For pregnant women and children, these numbers are different. Refer to the table below for all age categories.

How much vitamin A do you need on a daily basis?

To stay healthy, the daily recommendation of vitamin A for an adult male 800 micrograms and for an adult female 680 micrograms. For pregnant women and children, these numbers are different. Refer to the table below for all age categories.

Category / age

 

Daily recommendation

 

Children
6-11 months300
1-2 years300
2-5 years350
6-9 years400
Men
9-13 years600
14-17 years900
18 years and older800
Women
9-13 years600
14-17 years700
18 years and older680
Pregnant women800
When breastfeeding1,100

Special advice for pregnancy and young children

Too much vitamin A increases the risk of birth defects. If you are pregnant, you are therefore advised not to take supplements containing vitamin A, and not to eat liver (products). Liver, liverwurst and pate contain a lot of vitamin A. The amount of liverwurst or pate for 1 sandwich contains about 1,200 micrograms of vitamin A.

Too much vitamin A increases the risk of birth defects. Therefore, do not eat too much smeared liverwurst or pate.

If you are pregnant, there is probably no health risk to the unborn child if you do eat a slice of bread with pâté or oiled sausage. The safe level for vitamin A for adults is 3,000 micrograms per day, and the majority of women get less than 1,200 micrograms per day through their normal diet.

For children 1-3 years old, the safe upper limit is 800 micrograms per day. It is better not to give children up to the age of 4 years any spreadable sausage or pâté.

Can you get too much vitamin A?

Because too much vitamin A intake has negative health effects, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set an acceptable upper limit for vitamin A.

AgeAcceptable upper limit ofmicrograms per day
1-3 years800
4-6 years1,100
7-10 years1,500
11-14 years2,000
15-17 years2,600
18 years and older3,000
You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.