What are the symptoms and consequences of a vitamin A deficiency?

According to research from the RIVM, a large part of the Dutch population does not consume enough vitamin A. And that while it is a very important vitamin A. It should therefore not be missing from your daily diet, because it benefits your eyes, skin, mucous membranes, bone development and your immune system. And for these reasons:

  • Vitamin A enables your eyes to adapt (better) to the dark.
  • Vitamin A contributes to the proper functioning of your immune system.
  • In children, this vitamin plays a major role in the development of an unborn child and the growth of children.
  • It is involved in the production of cells associated with your skin, windpipe, hair, gums and lung tissue.

    What is vitamin A?

    Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that you get mainly through the diet. Your body absorbs it through your intestines and then stores it in your liver. There are two different sources of vitamin A:

    • Retinol or retinyl esters in animal products and is very important for your skin.
    • Carotenoids in vegetable foods. These are very good for your eyes, hair and immune system and are also called provitamin A, because the body itself can convert these substances into vitamin A.

      What are the consequences of vitamin A deficiency?

      The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A is 680 micrograms for women between 18 and 70 years of age. If you are pregnant you must use 750 micrograms, if you are breastfeeding 1100 micrograms. But be careful with vitamin A during your pregnancy.

      If you do not get enough vitamin A for a long time, a deficiency can occur. This can have unpleasant consequences for your health.

      Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency

      We list the complaints by which you can recognize a vitamin A deficiency. It is also the consequences of this lack.

      • Skin problems, such as dry skin
      • dry eyes

      • (Night) blindness
      • Boring hair
      • Difficulty getting pregnant or even infertility
      • Slow growth
      • Throat and chest infections
      • Poor wound healing
      • Acne and pimples

        Do you recognize yourself in the symptoms above? Do you suffer from night blindness or do you have more acne due to vitamin A deficiency? Then it is wise to contact your doctor. Who knows, a different diet or a vitamin A supplement might help you.

        What disease can be caused by a lack of vitamin A?

        As you can read above, lack of vitamin A can cause night blindness. You see little or nothing in the dark or at dusk. Of course, everyone sees worse in the dark than by daylight. But for most people, the eyes adjust themselves in dim light or in the dark. If you have too much trouble getting used to the dark, you may be night blind. In that case, it is wise to have your eyes checked regularly by an ophthalmologist. Night goggles can help.

        What contains the most vitamin A?

        If you eat a healthy and varied diet following the Femhjulet, you will get enough vitamins. Vitamin A is mainly found in animal products such as meat, dairy products, fish and egg yolks. But plant foods can also contain vitamin A. You can read more about vitamin A in food here.

        • Animal products with a lot of vitamin A are: liver, tuna and goat’s cheese
        • Vegetable products high in vitamin A include: carrot, spinach, sweet potato and watercress. It is also often added to baked goods such as margarine.

          Which fruit contains the most vitamin A?

          In addition to animal (and vegetable) products, many fruits and vegetables are also rich in vitamin A. In general, it is better to eat vegetables to get enough vitamin A (such as pumpkin, kale, sweet potato, carrots, and spinach), but a few fruits also gives good amounts, namely:

          • Mango
          • (Cantaloupe) melon
          • Grapefruit
          • Watermelon
          • Papaya
          • Apricot
          • Mandarin
          • Nectarine
          • Guava
          • passion fruit

            Combine with fat

            Since vitamin A is fat-soluble, it is more efficiently absorbed into your bloodstream if you eat the vitamin in combination with fat. Most foods of animal origin already contain a lot of fat, but this is not the case for the vegetable sources of vitamin A. So add a splash of oil to your salad or eat fruit in combination with some nuts.

            An excess of vitamin A

            Vitamins are healthy, so the more the better you will think. So no. That’s not quite right. A vitamin deficiency is dangerous, but also be careful not to consume too much vitamin A.

            Of course, your body can store a large supply of vitamin A in your liver, but at some point it simply stops. If you experience these disorders, you may be suffering from an excess of vitamin A, also known as hypervitaminosis A.

            Source: RIVM, Healthline

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