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Vitamin A

What makes Bugs Bunny smart? Or closer to home, why does Private detective Karamchand has such a sharp eye? Any guesses? Well, its our dear old Vitamin A!! Haven’t you seen both of these smarties chomping on carrots, Bugs outwitting Elmer Fudd whereas Karmachand & Kitty solving case after case? Now you will ask me how is eating carrots going to help me? Well, simple fact that carrots are a rich source of Vitamin A.

But we are not talking about carrots alone here, what we are going to discuss is Vitamin A.  Vitamin A being a fat soluble vitamin is stored in our body, so primarily it can be used whenever the body needs it.

How Does Vitamin A helps?

  • It helps fighting against common ailments like common cold, allergies etc.
  • It helps in providing healthy atmosphere for conception and also it helps growth of baby  inside the womb.
  • It helps preventing osteoporosis, and helps recover broken bones.
  • Sufficient vitamin A ensures glowing skin.
  • It helps to fight against cancer.

How do we get our vitamin A?

There are two different sources available for vitamin A, the vegetarian source and non veg source, Veg source does not provide direct vitamin A but the element known as beta carotene, beta carotene is converted in vitamin A by human body as per requirements.  All the orange, yellow, green and red coloured fruits and veggies like mango, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, spinach and pumpkins are rich source of beta carotene. While animal source is the direct source of vitamin A.  Whole milk products, eggs, liver, cod liver oil, etc are rich sources of Vitamin A.

How much do we require daily?

Though the adult and children have different level of requirements , you will be amaze to know that a carrot or a small bunch of spinach or a ripe mango can provide you enough Vitamin A for a day.

What happens if we don’t get enough?

You will wonder why we need to eat all these. What’s the need of this Vitamin? Once you read through the importance of the Vitamin A, you will realize how crucial it is for our body & what its deficiency can do? Vitamin A plays a role in a variety of functions throughout the body, such as:

  • Vision – It can’t improve your distance vision or help you see more clearly, but a deficiency can certainly harm your vision in several ways. One form of vitamin A in your body, retinal, helps nerves transmit the image of what you see to your brain. When you are in a dark situation (such as driving at night) and light flashes (such as oncoming headlights), certain compounds in the visual cycle are bleached out and need to be refreshed by having a good supply of retinal available. If a person is deficient in vitamin A it takes much longer for their eyes to adjust to be able to see again. Another way vitamin A helps your vision is by maintaining the moisture of your mucous membranes.

The deficiency of the Vitamin A can cause blindness in the eyes, the hardness in the lungs are not able to fight infections whereas the damage to the intestine & stomach causes severe digestive problems. The deficiency can prove fatal.

What happens if we exceed the dose?

Just as deficiency is dangerous for the body, too much is not too good also.  Being vegetarian secures you from exceeding the dose of Vitamin A, because the body has control to converts Vit A from beta carotene as required. But have caution while having non veg , specially read meat and liver, cause having them excessively might cause overdose. The symptoms of the toxicity are general fatigue, severe headaches, blurred vision, insomnia, hair loss, menstrual irregularities, skin rashes & joint pain

So I hope now that you realize the importance of this A-ssential vitamin, you will not skip it in your meals nor will you go overboard with it. Fortunately for us, the cases of Vitamin A deficiency are very rare as our staple diet includes the source in form of meat, dairy products, colorful fruits & vegetables.

About the author

Ami Paneri Upadhyay

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