Health Benefits of Vitamin A

What is vitamin A

Vitamin A is not a single nutrient but a combination of associated nutrients. The benefits that these nutrients furnish differ, as do the sources it is derived from. Vitamin A is derived from animal products as retinoid and from plant products as carotenoid.

Vitamin A, alternatively called retinol, is primarily responsible for vision adjustment and also aids in moistening the eyes / skin / mucous. It is also an antioxidant that minimizes the damage to cells and tissue that occurs due to free radicals.

 

What are retinoids

As has been mentioned, retinoids are derived from animal products. There are some very particular conditions that might benefit from retinoids and not carotinoids. The retinoid version of vitamin A might assist in specific issues related to inflammation, immunity, genetics and reproductive concerns. The retinoid version of vitamin A is a crucial aspect in pregnancy, childbirth, childhood, early growth, night vision, RBC adequacy and resisting infections. It is not necessary to be associated with any of these aspects to need the retinoid version of vitamin A.

 

What are carotenoids

The carotenoid version of vitamin A can be converted into its retinoid version. Alpha-carotene / beta-carotene / beta-cryptoxanthin are the 3 carotenoids that can be transformed into retinoids, by the body. However, this conversion is subject to an individual’s circumstance with respect to inherited genes, digestive disorders, alcohol abuse, environmental toxicity, bacterial imbalances in the digestive tract, etc. The carotenoids are chiefly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. Thereby, they address needs different from retinoids.

 

What sources can vitamin A be derived from

 

The major sources for vitamin A as retinoid are,

– Beef liver                                                        – Egg yolk                                             – Cheddar cheese

– Fortified milk

The major sources of vitamin A as carotenoids are,

– Sweet potato                                                    – Carrots                                                            – Pumpkin

– Cantaloupe                                                      – Broccoli                                              – Apricots

– Spinach                                                                       – Collard greens                         – Mustard greens

– Beet greens                                                      – Turnip greens                          – Swiss chard

– Winter Squash                                     – Kale

 

What are the conditions associated with vitamin A deficiency

 

Some conditions associated with a deficiency of vitamin A as retinoid are,

– Cataracts                                                         – AIDS                                                  – Premature delivery

– Atopic dermatitis                                              – Osteoarthritis                           – Cervical dysplasia

– Cystic Fibrosis                                    – Diabetes                                              – Thyroid disorders

– Fibrocystic breast disease                      – Hyperkeratosis                         – Otitis media

Some conditions associated with a deficiency of vitamin A as carotenoid are,

– Prostate cancer                                     – Macular degeneration   – Angina pectoris

– Asthma                                                                       – Vaginal candidiasis                  – Cervical cancer

– Rheumatoid arthritis                             – Chlamydial infection                – Heart disease

– Laryngeal cancer                                              – Lung cancer                             – Skin cancer

 

What are the health benefits associated with vitamin A

The retinoid versions of vitamin A manifest as retinyl esters. These are converted into physiologically functional forms of vitamin A – retinol / retinal / retinoic acid.

The retina has rhodospin a pigment that enables vision in poorly illuminated atmosphere. Retinoid has retinal that enables the synthesis of rhodospin.

The digestive tract may imbibe harmful substances like pesticides or micro-organisms. Retinoid guards by disabling them and boosting the immunity & inflammation.

Retinoids have retinoic acid that enables synthesis of glycoprotein and facilitates hematopoiesis for formation of RBCs thereby ensuring normal growth & development.

Retinoids are essential for metabolism of bones and reproduction by spermatogenesis. The retinoic acid in retinoids also controls inherited genetic imbalances.

The carotinoid versions of vitamin A occur as beta-carotene / alpha-carotene / beta-cryptoxanthin. These may subsequently be transformed into retinoids.

The carotinoids are possibly anti-cancer and anti-aging agents. Their physiological function is associated with their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory advantages.

Carotinoids facilitate cellular interface. Lack of proper interface amongst cells may result in their over-growth leading to development of several malignant tumors.

The corpus luteum has enormous beta-carotene that indicates this nutrient is vital for reproduction amongst women.