What is vitamin A? Why do we need it?
Vitamin A is part of a group of compounds known as retinoids. Vitamin
A promotes good eyesight and helps keep the skin and mucous membranes
resistant to infection. Vitamin A also enhances immunity, enabling the
body to defend against colds, influenza, many infections, and certain
cancers, and prevents certain skin disorders.
What are some good sources of vitamin A?
Vitamin A can be found in a number of common foods, including fish liver
oils, egg yolks, butter and cream, and dark green and yellow fruits and
vegetables (especially carrots, asparagus, apricots, spinach, yellow squash,
and sweet potatoes).
What can happen if we don't get enough vitamin
Night blindness, dry hair and skin, insomnia, fatigue, frequent colds
and other respiratory infections, skin disorders (such as acne) and weight
loss have been attributed to vitamin A deficiencies. Children are most
at risk of vitamin A deficiency because they have not yet developed adequate
vitamin A stores.
- Ross CA. Vitamin A and retinoids. In: Modern Nutrition
in Health and Disease, 9th ed.,1999: pp305-328. Williams & Wilkins,
- Balch JF, Balch PA. Prescription for Nutritional
Healing, 2nd ed., 1997: Avery Publishing Group, New York.
- Tyson JE, Wright LL, Oh W, et al. Vitamin A supplementation
for extremely-low-birth-weight infants. New England Journal of Medicine