Vitamin A and its importance for our health
Vitamins are a very important part of our nutrition, and each of them has a number of benefits to our health and is essential for numerous important functions and processes in our body. They can be taken in through various foods or supplements, but when insufficient amount of any of them occurs, it may cause a number of health related issues, of which some may be extremely serious. As for vitamin A, it belongs to the group of fat-soluble vitamins and it is important for the growth of the cells, as well as for their differentiation, for the growth of the bones and for reproduction. Besides these aspects, it also affects respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts, helping in the maintenance of their health, and it is of crucial importance for good vision.
Deficiency of vitamin A and how to deal with it
The fact is that vitamin A deficiency, or lack of this vitamin is very rare when it comes to people who live in the United States; it is much more frequent in people who live in the developing countries, in which it is the most common cause of blindness, particularly in children. The symptoms and conditions that may indicate vitamin A deficiency include slow growth and development of bones, a weak immune system and its impaired function, birth defects, diarrhea, pneumonia, even cancer, and night blindness that has the tendency of progressing to complete blindness.
Besides the diets that are low in vitamin A, other reasons for this condition include iron deficiency, excessive consumption of alcohol, stressed liver. However, it is important to mention that people who suffer from hyperthyroidism, diabetes, protein deficiency, or some condition related to fat malabsorption (pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis or billiary obstruction) should also talk to their doctor, because they are at higher risk of developing vitamin A deficiency.
When it comes to the treatment of this vitamin deficiency, it is very easy and it usually consists of adding vitamin A to the diet, either in the form of supplements, or consuming it through the foods that naturally contain it. Also, besides the oral forms, there are also injectable forms of vitamin A, but which way will be suggested to the patient depends on the problem, the seriousness of the symptoms and the cause. Having in mind that this condition can be fatal, particularly when it comes to children, it is very important to make sure that their diet is balanced and rich in all the needed nutrients from the very beginning.