Before Vitamin A and its health benefits were discovered Ancient Greek philosopher Hippocrates was using liver, a rich Vitamin A source to treat symptoms that we would now diagnose as Vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin much like Vitamins D, E and K. The retinol form of Vitamin A was discovered in 1912 by McCollum and Davis, and the carotenoid form much later, in 1957 by Thomas Moore. There are over 600 kinds of carotenoids, some well known compounds, include Lutein, Lycopene, Astaxanthine, Zeaxanthine and Beta-carotene.
Vitamin A is an umbrella arm for two categories, retinol and carotenoids. Retinol is Vitamin A sourced from animal products. On the other hand, carotenoids are sourced from plant products.
Dietary sources of retinol include
– Whole milk
– Egg yolks
– Oily fish
– Cod liver oil.
Whereas, dietary sources of carotenoids include
– Sweet potatoes
– Bell peppers
Symptoms and signs of Vitamin A deficiency :
– Deteriorating sight
– Poor night vision
– Dry and scaly skin
– Brittle fingernails
– Dryness of the eye
– Iron deficiency anaemia
Health Benefits of Vitamin A
– Vitamin A is essential for our immune system. In particular, it ha been shown to be effective against flu, the common cold and can reduce your vulnerability to infection.
– The primary use of Vitamin A is for healthy vision. Rhodopsin is a compound found in the eye that is made using retail or carotenoids, Studies have shown that adequate Vitamin A intakes can reduce the risk of Macular generation and Agee related eye disease by 25%
– Vitamin A is an all round skin saviour, it has been shown to aid dry skin, heal wounds, fight acne and reduce the signs of premature ageing.
– Vitamin A is used to metabolism and release stored Iron within the body to make it available for use.