There are four vitamins in the human body that are fat soluble, and vitamin A is one of them. A very important vitamin that is necessary for overall good health and vitality, vitamin A is absorbed by the body through fat, and therefore can be retained in stores within the body.
There are four main functions of vitamin A. These include: normal cell reproduction, normal growth and development of a fetus and embryo, a necessity for fertility, and proper vision. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in cell reproduction as it helps cells undergo differentiation which ensures healthy cell reproduction. Vitamin A also influences the development of the organs for embryos and fetuses, and plays an important role of the proper functioning of not only the ovaries and the placenta, but also the sperm, making vitamin A essential for reproduction. This is a vitamin that is also necessary for vision and maintaining healthy cells in the structures of the eye and transmitting light signals in the retina.
Besides these four main functions, vitamin A is also responsible for proper immune function, maintenance of healthy skin and hair, bone and body growth, and wound healing. Vitamin A is commonly known to provide some protection against free radicals that may attack the body’s cells and structures.
Vitamin A is mainly found in liver, oils, egg yolks, butter, beef, and dairy products such as milk, cheese, and butter. Vitamin A can also be manufactured in the body from beat-carotene and other carotenoids. Beta-carotene is found in dark green leafy vegetables, and yellow and orange vegetables. Some common sources are squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, apricots, peaches, papaya, peas, peppers and mangoes. You can increase your supply of vitamin A by eating a diet rich in these foods.
If you are low in vitamin A you may begin to experience vision problems, commonly night vision will be decreased if you are experiencing a vitamin A deficiency. A serious vitamin A deficiency may contribute to blindness as the retina and cornea become very dry. A deficiency of this vitamin may also lead to the inability to fight infections as well as skin disorders such as dry, rough skin.
It is unlikely that you will need a vitamin A supplement if you eat a well balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. However, if you do supplement, a recommended does is 25,000 IU. However there are situations where this much vitamin A is not considered safe. For example, people over the age of 65 should limit their intake, as well as pregnant women, because too much vitamin A may be related to birth defects.