Vitamin A plays a role in a variety of functions throughout the body including bone metabolism, skin health, embryonic development and immune function. But perhaps it's most well known benefit is in the eyes where it not only helps prevent a whole host of eye problems but can actually improve eyesight. The vitamin is also believed to act as an antioxidant and reduce the risks of developing certain cancers.
Good sources of Vitamin A include kale, pepper, cabbage, spinach, mango and apricots. Eggs, liver and sweet potatoes are also high in Vitamin A. And of course one of the best sources of vitamin A are carrots.
The European Commission daily recommendation for Vitamin A is 800mcg for both men and women. The UK RDA for Vitamin A is 700mcg for men and 600mcg for women.
In the UK and other Western counties, a deficiency in Vitamin A is rare. Most cases are due to either alcohol abuse or an underlying medical condition that affects the body's ability to absorb fats and nutrients. It is more common in counties where rice, and it's lack of carotene, is the staple food.
Vitamin A deficiency is characterized by adverse changes in the eyes such as night blindness, dry eyes, and keratomalacia (thinning and ulceration of the cornea). Other symptoms include an increased susceptibility to infection, and the development of dry skin and bumpy rashes.
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