4 Major Signs Of Vitamin A Deficiency To Pay Attention To
You need enough vitamin A for your body to function normally. Your body can’t produce it on its own, this is why it important to get enough of this vitamin from your diet.
Vitamin A is found in various animal products, including milk and products made from it. Good plant sources of provitamin A carotenoids (your body converts them into vitamin A) include carrots, red peppers, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, broccoli, mango, papaya, and apricots.
The recommended daily amounts of vitamin A are 900 mcg and 700 mcg for adult men and adult women respectively. Don’t worry if you don’t eat enough of vitamin A on some days, because your liver has a reserve of vitamin A.
Vitamin A deficiency is uncommon in developed countries, and you’re probably getting enough of this vitamin from your diet without much thought and effort.
Lack of vitamin A in your body can lead to vision problems and other serious symptoms. If you’re only mildly deficient, you may either have no symptoms or feel tired without an apparent reason. But if the deficiency is lasting and more severe, it may produce more serious signs and symptoms.
1. Vision problems
Eye problems are the most common sign of vitamin A deficiency. They may include poor night vision, eye dryness, and damage to the cornea and retina.
2. Frequent infections
Vitamin A also supports your immune system, among other things. If you’re lacking this vitamin, you may become more prone to respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, and other infections.
3. Skin problems
You probably know that retinol (a form of vitamin A) is used in many skin care products. Vitamin A is vital for skin health, and if you don’t consume enough of it, your skin may become rough, dry, and scaly. Your hair can also become dry.
4. Developmental issues
Vitamin A deficiency in children and adolescents may manifest in delayed growth and bone development.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should pay special attention to vitamin A, because this vitamin is vital for fetal development, and babies also need to get enough of it to ensure normal brain development, bone growth, and good eyesight.
Causes of vitamin A deficiency
Factors that cause vitamin A deficiency include the following:
- lack of foods rich in vitamin A in your diet;
- malabsorption due to certain conditions, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and cystic fibrosis;
- liver or pancreas disease.
Mild vitamin A deficiency can be corrected simply by eating more vitamin-A rich foods. People who have severe deficiency and those with malabsorption usually need vitamin A supplements.
Vitamin A deficiency is rare, but not impossible. Keep its symptoms in mind so you’ll know when consult a doctor in case you develop it.
This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.