Vitamin A – Get Enough A for Your Eyes
You wouldn’t have much of an eye if it weren’t for an A. Vitamin A is of vital importance to the health and function of your eyes. This vitamin is needed by the eye to create a specific metabolite that aids both low light and color vision. The vitamin comes in two major forms: retinol is found in animal food sources, and is a yellow, fat-soluble substance. The carotenes, including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and gamma-carotene, are found in plant food sources. As omnivores, humans can get this crucial vitamin from either retinol or the carotenes, but the important thing is to get enough of it.
Vitamin A plays a key role in many functions of the body, including vision, gene transcription, immune function, embryonic development, reproduction, bone metabolism, blood formation, skin health, and antioxidant activity. If your body doesn’t get enough of this vital vitamin to perform these functions, then you may begin to experience some adverse effects, including night blindness, which can lead to total blindness if left untreated. Severe deficiency may lead to birth defects, and, eventually, to death. In fact, it is estimated that 670,000 children under the age of five die annually due to a deficiency in this vitamin worldwide.
This is particularly tragic when you consider how simple it can be to get enough vitamin A in your diet. It’s found in common foods like liver, butter, milk, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, cheese, cantaloupe, eggs, mangos, peas, and apricots. Most children who suffer from deficiencies of this vitamin simply don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. And, in cases like these, it’s easy enough to find vitamin supplements that can make up for any deficiency in fresh fruit. It’s a comfort to know that the occurrence of this deficiency is largely under control in the United States.
You can make sure to get enough vitamin A in your diet and into the diets of anyone you care for simply by making sure to create a diet rich in foods that contain retinol and carotenes. But, just to make sure, it’s also a good idea to take vitamin supplements, including A, on a daily basis to make sure that you’re getting enough. If you’re pregnant, you should be careful not to exceed the daily recommended dosage, as it may cause birth defects, but you should still make sure to get enough in your diet.