Do You Have a Vitamin A Deficiency?
Undiagnosed, a vitamin A deficiency can have serious complications. One of the more serious being complete blindness. Learning more about vitamin A deficiencies and it’s warning signs can be very beneficial in preventing it.
What does vitamin A do for the body? Vitamin A is the source for two of the body’s main functions. The first thing it does is control the body’s tissue growth. This would include cells and the lining of some internal organs. The second thing vitamin A does is control our night vision. Vitamin A is the component of the eye that allows us to see in the dark. Without enough vitamin A, vision can go from bad to worse.
What are the signs of a vitamin A deficiency? Most people will experience signs when developing a vitamin A deficiency. Dry hair, skin, and nails are among the more common symptoms. Also, a low resistance to infections is a sign that you may need more vitamin A. Most people will not associate their poor night vision with a need for vitamins. Driving at night is a good example. You see well during the day, however, at night it is harder to see when driving. This too, can be a sign of a vitamin A deficiency. It is actually a serious symptom. Left untreated, blindness can occur.
Can a vitamin A deficiency be prevented? Absolutely. A diet of foods that contain a lot of vitamin A and beta-carotene is a excellent way to prevent a vitamin A deficiency. Some of the best sources of vitamin A and beta-carotene include eggs, butter, milk, and fish. If foods that contain vitamin A are not your preference, consider foods that contain beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is just about immediately changed to vitamin A once it is consumed and produces the same results as vitamin A. Some good sources of beta-carotene include sweet potatoes and carrots.
Is there treatments for vitamin A deficiencies? Yes. Vitamin supplements and vitamin injections are both used to treat people with vitamin A deficiencies. These treatments can be very effective in reversing the effects of a vitamin A deficiency including an improvement in night vision. Keep in mind, though, that both blindness and tissue death can not be treated and are permanent.
Who is at risk? Anyone not getting proper nutrition is at risk. This especially true for infants and children. Alcohol can have a negative effect on vitamin A and this puts alcoholics at a higher risk. Also in the higher risk group, is people who have cystic fibrosis.
How much vitamin A do I need? The RDA recommends you have the following amounts of vitamin A per day. Children 3 and younger should have around 400 mcg per day. Children aged 3 to 10 should have 400mcg to 700 mcg per day. Ages 10 and up should have 800mcg to 1000 mcg per day.
By ensuring you and your family is getting enough vitamin A, you can be confident that you all have the healthiest eyes and skin cells possible. For parents who are uncertain on whether or not their young children are getting enough vitamin A, talk to your child’s pediatrician about vitamin supplements. In today’s fast paced life styles of fast food and quick meals, it may not be a bad idea for the whole family to consider vitamin supplements. Your health is just too important.