Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Essential Facts to Know about Vitamin A

Vitamin A, also known as retinol or carotenoid, is a fat soluble vitamin. It helps in forming and maintaining healthy teeth. In addition, it has strong significance in maintaining skeletal and soft tissues. Apart from that, mucous membranes and skin health suffer greatly if there is a deficiency of vitamin A. The name retinol comes from the fact that vitamin A is responsible for producing the pigments in retina. In this article, we will discuss few important facts about vitamin A including its role as antioxidant, available food source, and side effects.

Vitamin A as an Antioxidant

Retinol is an active form of vitamin A. It is beneficial to promote healthy vision, especially during dark light. One of the most essential facts to know about vitamin A is that it acts as an antioxidant, so it offers valuable protection against free radical formation. Free radicals are unstable form of molecules contributing to premature aging and degenerative diseases such as different chronic conditions, cardiovascular disease, eyesight problem, cancer and many others. Beta carotene is a variety of carotenoid. This is an antioxidant.

Food Sources

Before considering commercially available supplements for vitamin C, you must need to be facilitated with some important facts about vitamin A and its natural resources. Similar to other antioxidants, nature has plenty sources of vitamin A. Generally, vitamin A is available from animal sources such as eggs, milk, meat, cod, cream, liver, cheese, and cream. One of the most important facts to know about vitamin A animal sources that you must keep in concern is that all of these animal sources contain high level of cholesterol and saturated fat.

However, the availability of vitamin A is not limited to animal sources only. In fact, you have plenty of fruits and vegetables that help you to meet the essential requirements. These are carrots, winter squashes, pumpkin, pink grapefruit, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, spinach, broccoli and other green and leafy vegetables. While buying vegetables for vitamin A, consider the fruits or vegetables with intense vibrant color. The more intense is the color, the more beta-carotene contents are. This is one of the essential facts to consider about vitamin A veggie source.

Side Effects

If you have insufficient supply of vitamin A, you are subject to experience different health complications including infections, vision problems, etc. However, if you are on excessive dietary supply of vitamin A, you are vulnerable towards many different health complications as well. High dosage of vitamin A during pregnancy may lead to birth defects. If an adult takes several hundred thousands of vitamin A, he is at higher risk for developing acute vitamin A poisoning. Infants and young children are more vulnerable about excess vitamin A intake, they may become ill if larger dosages are administered.

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