Vitamin A and D benefits, acknowledging the importance of vitamin D on our “skeletal system and our muscle mass”, however, vitamin A also plays an important role in supporting bone growth and body development.
Vitamin D is a helper for absorbing calcium and building bones. Your body produces vitamin D as a “response to sun exposure”. You may also boost vitamin D in your body through the intake of certain foods or supplements. Vitamin D protects you from disease and health issues such as certain cancers, autoimmune disease, heart disease and infections.
With the help of vitamin, A, you will have more support in maintaining several parts of your body, including your teeth, skeletal and soft tissues, eyesight, immune system, mucus membranes and skin.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble, stored in the liver. It helps preventing the risk of many diseases in heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs. According to nutrient research, there are two type of vitamin A:
- Retinol: “This is an active form of vitamin A that’s found in whole milk, animal liver and some fortified foods. It’s called “retinol” because it produces the pigments in the eye’s retina”.
- Carotenoids: “These pigments are found in plant foods and can transform into an active form of vitamin A. One common carotenoid is beta-carotene, but scientists have identified more than 500 carotenoids”.
In addition, “vitamin A is found in animal products like meat and dairy foods is called preformed vitamin A. The kind found in plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables is called provitamin A”.
Vitamin A benefits
Vitamin A and D benefits your body in many ways, it supports cell growth, fetal development, vision, and our immune function. Vitamin A best-known role is supporting your vision and more including.
- Protecting your eyesight – Protecting your vision mainly in the dark is one the notable benefits of this vitamin. Your eyes produce certain pigments for proper function of your retina, without vitamin A, this pigment production comes to a halt and may lead to night blindness and poor vision”. American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
- Supports your immune system – “Vitamin A is involved in regulating the immune system. It can also help protect you from infections that enter the body through the skin, as well as the tissues in the mouth, gut and urinary tract. Those tissues, if healthy, help form a barrier to infections.” says Keith Ayoob, RD, associate clinical professor emeritus at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
- Vitamin A is an antioxidant protective – “Vitamin A is created from carotenoid beta-carotene, an antioxidant. Therefore, it can help defend your body against cell damage caused by free radicals. It’s one of many in a class of carotenoids that emerging evidence suggests may help delay some diseases of aging, like declining immune function.” S. National Library of Medicine.
- Vitamin A may help with acne – “There are evidence between vitamin A and acne improvements. When 50 patients with moderate acne were treated with low-dose isotretinoin (synthetic vitamin A) tablets for three months, positive improvements were found in 90.8 percent of patients ages 12 to 20 and in 89.6 percent of patients ages 21 to 35”. A study showed in the journal Medical Archives.
Vitamin A and D benefits for bone, growth, and development
Vitamin A and D are essential for bone growth and teeth. Maintaining the right balance of vitamin A will prevent the risk of bone diseases and fractures later in life. Studies have found that “dietary intake of retinol and total vitamin A may be linked to slightly decreasing total fracture risk while increasing hip fracture risk”.
Other benefits of vitamin A and D associated with growth and development of our body according to University of Rochester Medical Center, are:
- It helps building healthy strong bones
- Enabling sperm development to become a baby
- It allows the growth of placenta during pregnancy
- Maintaining the epithelial tissue
Vitamin A lower the risk of certain cancers
Vitamin A may lower the risk of certain cancers, studies have shown, although more research is required to fully determine the association.
Individuals consuming diet rich in vitamin A they may have less chances in about 17% of getting skin cancer. Also, research says that “former smokers who have higher intakes of carotenoids, fruits and vegetables or both may have a lower risk of lung cancer, it’s unknown if supplemental beta-carotene or vitamin A can help prevent the disease”. According to National Institute of Health
Furthermore, “men who took daily supplements of beta-carotene and retinyl palmitate, were observed to have a 35% lower risk of nonaggressive prostate cancer than those who did not in a 2009 study in the journal. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Further studies are needed to determine if vitamin A intake – both through food source and supplements – may affect developing of certain cancers.
Vitamin A food source
Many common foods are great source of vitamin A for being fat- soluble vitamin. Many sources of food contain both types of this vitamin. For instant: “retinol, is mostly found in animal product and beta-carotene, found in red, yellow and some green fruits and vegetables”.
Consuming food rich in vitamin A is important for your health, eyesight, and immune system. And, for any reasons, you may find it difficult to have access to certain food, or experience certain health issues which prevent you from consuming certain food products, supplements might be the right choice to supplement your body, after consulting your medical advisor.
Vitamin A is found in many healthy and delicious food sources. According to USDA, foods that contain high amount of vitamin A are:
- Cooked lamb and beef liver
- Sweet Potatoes
- Seafood, especially Eel
- Vegetable, such as butternut squash and spinach
Vitamin A deficiency
Consuming the right diet mostly will prevent vitamin A deficiency. However, it can still occur when certain underlying condition affect normal digestion that cause malabsorption of vitamin A including “celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, cirrhosis or cystic fibrosis”. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The deficiency of vitamin A in children may “cause severe visual impairment and even blindness. It can also affect the immune system in early childhood and cause death from common infections such as measles”. According to research
It is believed that “about 250 million preschool children are deficient in vitamin A. And up to 500,000 children go blind every year due to vitamin A deficiencies.
Pregnant women may experience vitamin A deficiency mostly “during their last trimester”. “This is when their vitamin A needs and those of their unborn child are the greatest. As a result, there is a high prevalence of night blindness during this period”. According to research
Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency may include:
- Susceptibility to infections
- Severe dryness of the eye and Night blindness
- Irregular patches on the white of eyes
- Dry skin or hair
Approximately half of the world countries, “especially in Southeast Asia and Africa, vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem and affects young children and pregnant women in low-income areas the hardest”. World Health Organization
Vitamin A supplements
It is always best to obtain your vitamins from food sources. However, this can be challenging to people who have limited supply of food and those with certain health issues.
Taking supplements is an easy way to ensure that your body will not experience deficiency that will harm your health. Talking to your doctor is recommended before taking any kind of supplements. It will help you know if there is any deficiency and how much you need to take on daily bases.
Taking excessive amount of vitamin A – over 10,000 mcg daily can be harmful, it can cause nausea, vomiting, vertigo and blurry vision, bone thinning, liver damage, headache, diarrhea, skin irritation, pain in the joints and bones, and birth defect. According to Mayo Clinic
It is only recommended to take 900 mcg for male adults starting age of 19 which is equivalent to 3,000 IU. Adult women recommendation is 700 mcg – equivalent to 2,333 IU.
If you are or might become pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking vitamin A. “Excessive use of vitamin A during pregnancy has been linked to problems with womb and birth defects”.
Vitamin A and D benefits summary
Vitamin A and D benefits are many to our bones, growth, and development. Vitamin A delivers several benefits to our health such as eyesight, soft tissue, bone health, and skin.
Vitamin A is considered a group of fatty-soluble compounds – retinol, retinal and retinyl esters that play an important role in preserving the fat in the tissue for later use, (3Trusted Source).
Vitamin A also controls how the cell function; a balanced level of this nutrient influences the function of the cell in a healthy way which help skin appear younger. It can help in reducing skin pigmentation, acne, collagen formation, healing of skin such as infections and breakouts and maintain healthy dermis and epidermis.
In addition to that, vitamin A is It is essential for women to have balanced vitamin A to reduce the risk of anemia and the negative impact in growth and the development of the fetus. Many delicious foods contain vitamin A such as carrot, butter squash, spinach, and animal liver.