Healthy diet equals healthy you. So, when it comes to living your best and healthy lives, we are familiar with the importance of nutrients in the body. You may be familiar with the role vitamin D and C play in the body. Vitamin D is important for bone health, vitamin C is important for skin health. But what about vitamin A?
Vitamin A is as vital as any other nutrient in the body. However, only a little value and importance is given to it.
Today, we will be talking about the vital role vitamin A plays in your body.
What is vitamin A?
It is a group of compounds that are quintessential in maintaining healthy functions of our body and supporting numerous elements of human well-being and survival. This essential fat-soluble micronutrient has strong antioxidant qualities that contribute to the body’s overall health.
The role of vitamin A in various physiological processes in the human body has been studied extensively for many years, with extensive studies being conducted and continuing to this day.
So, let’s dig in deeper to understand the importance of the vitamin.
Functions of vitamin A
We’re all independent adults who work in front of a computer all day long, and entertain ourselves using gadgets when time allows. High-power spectacles are no surprise. But you’re lucky if you still haven’t got prescribed spectacles.
However, things don’t always remain the same. One of the most promising benefits reaped from Vitamin A is its significance in preserving good vision. It is necessary for optimal retinal function and the generation of vision pigments. In the eyes, a type of vitamin A known as retinal combines with a protein known as opsin to generate rhodopsin, a light-absorbing molecule required for color vision and seeing in low light. A deficiency in vitamin A leads to increased risk of severe infections, numerous diseases and pathological conditions, including eye disorders, such as night blindness, corneal drying, keratomalacia, and other age-related vision diseases.
Immune system support:
Even though your body has its own army, you must keep it strong. Apart from treating impaired vision, Vitamin A plays an important role in immune system support and its deficiency can lead to an impaired response to infection.
Recent multidisciplinary investigations have improved our understanding of the link between vitamin A and the immune system. Studies have found that it aids in the production of white blood cells which in turn acts as a shield and protects our body from any invasion of infections or germs. Furthermore, vitamin A is essential for the formation and function of white blood cells, which improves the body’s ability to fight infections.
Cell growth and development:
One form of Vitamin A, retinoic acid, is a key hormone-like growth factor for various cells in the body. It affects gene expression and influences cell specialisation, particularly in skin and epithelial linings. As a result, it is required for appropriate development during pregnancy and childhood.
Well, we all wish to have healthy and glowing skin. Turns out, vitamin C is not the only vitamin essential to achieve the skin of your dreams. Vitamin A plays a pivotal role in maintaining skin health. It helps in stimulating the production of new cells and new blood vessels. It increases skin cell turnover, which aids in the maintenance of a youthful and vibrant complexion. Vitamin A is also utilised in a variety of skincare treatments to improve skin tone, minimise the look of wrinkles and fine lines.
As an antioxidant, vitamin A aids in the protection of your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can cause cell damage as well as contribute to ageing and disease. Research shows that Vitamin A promotes overall health and may help avoid chronic diseases by countering oxidative stress.
Vitamin A is essential for reproductive health, impacting fertility and embryo development. It is especially critical during pregnancy for optimal placental health, tissue development and maintenance.
Cancer can be anybody’s worst nightmare. But to provide a little relief, vitamin A has been proven helpful in the treatment of breast, lung and prostate cancer. People with a family history of cancer have been demonstrated to have a lower risk of cancer when they consume Vitamin A on a regular basis.
Some sources of Vitamin A
Certain fish, such as salmon and mackerel, provide good amounts of vitamin A.
Milk, cheese, and eggs contain vitamin A, particularly in the form of retinol.
Some foods, like certain cereals, are fortified with vitamin A to enhance their nutritional content.
These orange-fleshed vegetables are high in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.
Carrots are another excellent source of beta-carotene, contributing to vitamin A intake.
Leafy green vegetables:
Vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens contain beta-carotene and are valuable sources of vitamin A.
Like sweet potatoes, pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene.
These fruits provide beta-carotene along with other essential nutrients
Vitamin A is a versatile nutrient that is required for a variety of physiological activities in the body. Its role is wide and crucial, ranging from supporting vision and immunological function to helping the normal growth and development of the embryo. Getting enough vitamin A from a balanced diet or supplements is critical for overall health and well-being.
As with any nutrient, it’s vital to check with a doctor to make sure your vitamin A levels are within the recommended range for optimal health.
Vitamin A can be measured with a simple blood test. A Serum Retinol Level test is the most reliable and practical test to measure the amount of vitamin A in your blood.