This is the Impact of vitamin A Deficiency and How to Prevent It
This is a danger to the body when experiencing a vitamin A deficiency
Deficiency of vitamin A in the body can occur due to a lack of sufficient amount of vitamin A in your diet.
Over time, a lack of vitamin A can lead to problems with your vision and an inability to fight off infections.
What symptoms are caused by a vitamin A deficiency?
Mild symptoms of vitamin A deficiency may not cause any signs at all. However, vitamin A deficiency can generally lead to a form of fatigue (fatigue). And the following symptoms:
Decreased quality of vision
According to a study from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, blurred vision often occurs in those who are deficient in vitamin A.
The eyes may become very dry at first, which can damage the cornea and retina.
Night blindness can also occur as a result of a vitamin A deficiency. This leads to difficulty seeing in low light, and can result in total blindness at night.
On the one hand, WHO states that night blindness is the most common sign of people experiencing vitamin A deficiency.
In more severe cases, the eye will continue to dry out, and the tissue can damage the cornea. This condition can cause the cornea to become cloudy.
Deficiency Vitamin A: Frequent infections
Vitamin A plays an important role as its function is to maintain the body's immune system. As a result, people with body deficiency will experience infections more often.
Skin problems can occur in people who are deficient in vitamin A, these problems include dry, itchy, and scaly skin and acne. Others may experience similar problems with their hair and scalp.
Vitamins play an important role in reproduction. Lack of vitamin A can cause infertility or difficulty getting pregnant.
Vitamin A plays a role in creating healthy cells. Not having enough of this vitamin can delay growth or cause children to have stunted growth or slow bone growth.
More severe vitamin A deficiency can cause:
Eye and vision problems
Poor vision in the dark (night blindness).
Thinning and ulceration of the cornea on the surface of the eye (keratomalacia).
Dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea on the surface of the eye (xerophthalmia).
Oval, triangular or irregular foamy patches on the whites of the eyes (called Bitot's spots).
Severe visual impairment (due to retinal damage) at the back of the eye.
Skin and hair problems
- Dry skin
- Dry hair
- Itching (pruritus)
What causes vitamin A deficiency?
Vitamin A deficiency may be caused by insufficient intake of vitamin A over a long period of time.
This is especially the case when there is an imbalance in the food you eat, including being too focused on eating rice (rice does not contain carotene).
Vitamin A deficiency can also occur when the body cannot reach the vitamin A in the food you eat.
Some people who may be more at risk for vitamin A deficiency:
- Premature baby
- Pregnant or breastfeeding people
- Infants and young children in developing countries
Not only that, secondary deficiency can also occur in people who have problems that can interfere with the body's ability to optimize the role of vitamin A, such as:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Chronic diarrhea
- celiac disease
- Duodenal bypass
- Bile duct obstruction
Children and pregnant women in low-income countries are at the highest risk of the severe effects of vitamin A deficiency. However, in Indonesia, optimal management of vitamin A intake is not an issue.
Why is vitamin A important?
Vitamin A plays an important role in many functions in the body. In general, vitamin A can function to:
- Immune system
- Reproduction system
There is an important relationship between vitamin A and vision. In addition to helping to optimize the work of the membranes of the eye and cornea, vitamin A is a key compound of a protein in the body called rhodopsin, which absorbs light in the retina.
Vitamin A also plays an important role in cell growth in other areas and aids in the normal formation and function of cells in the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.
Form of vitamin A
There are two forms of vitamin A in the human diet. The first is vitamin A like retinol, which comes from animal sources, including meat, fish, and dairy .
The second form is provitamin A carotenoids, such as beta-carotene. This compound was originally in the form of another compound and turned into vitamin A.
Both forms of the vitamin are absorbed through additional metabolism in the body, thus becoming the active retinal and retinoic acids.
Foods rich in vitamin A
There are a number of food sources that are rich in vitamin A. Included in the category of plant and animal sources. Both of these things must be consumed together for the realization of a healthy and balanced diet.
Vegetable sources of vitamin A include:
Boiled spinach: 573 micrograms (mcg) per 1/2 cup
Sweet potato: 1,403 micrograms (mcg) per whole potato
Raw carrots: 459 micrograms (mcg) per 1/2 cup
Raw melon: 135 micrograms (mcg) per 1/2 cup
Raw red peppers: 117 per 1/2 cup
Raw mango: 112 micrograms (mcg) per whole mango
Animal sources of vitamin A include:
- Beef liver: 6,582 mcg per 3 ounces (oz)
- Cheese: 263 mcg per glass
- Fat-free milk or skim milk with added vitamin A: 149 mcg per glass
- Hard-boiled eggs: 75 mcg per egg
Supplement for Deficiency Vitamin A
Vitamin A is also present in various forms of dietary supplements. Doctors may recommend taking supplements if a person has difficulty getting enough vitamin A from their daily diet.
This supplement may contain vitamin A or other forms; such as beta-carotene, or a mixture of both.
How to check for vitamin A deficiency?
If your doctor suspects you may have a vitamin A deficiency, then you will need to have blood tests to:
Confirm if you are indeed deficient in vitamin A. Check to see if you have any other conditions, such as anemia.
Other investigations will include a vision test, especially how your vision adapts to darkness.
In children, X-rays of long bones may be used to assess bone growth, which may be delayed due to vitamin A deficiency.
When to call the doctor?
Once again, Australia is a country that does not have an issue with vitamin A for its population. Because people have access to lots of vitamin A rich foods.
However, anyone who notices signs of a severe deficiency, such as night blindness, should contact a doctor immediately.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning the body stores it in its tissues. If you consume too much vitamin A, the body will have serious side effects.
A person should avoid taking high doses of vitamin A supplements unless they are prescribed and monitored by a healthcare professional.
Vitamin A deficiency is very rare in areas where food intake is lacking for the vitamin content.