So what is vitamin A and what function does it have in the body?

What is vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin.  The major source of vitamin A through the diet is oily fish, liver and dairy products.  And also you can buy fat spreads and cereals that are fortified with vitamin A, (though you need to watch the sugar, fat and salt content of these products).

So, what bits of the body need vitamin A to function?

Vitamin A is responsible for eye function, lung function as well as embryonic development, reproduction and cellular differentiation.

90% of the body’s vitamin A is stored in the liver and whilst a lot of it is expelled through various functions in the body such as through the bile produced by the gall bladder, the body will retain some 50% of the vitamin A in the body, in the liver.

What happens when there is a deficiency?

This vitamin is essential in the proper functioning of the body. Where deficiencies occur the consequences can be dire.  We see this in third world countries where eye health and infant mortality are high and can even result in malformation of the growing foetus.  We do not see these deficiencies as much in the west, though alcoholics and people with liver disease are susceptible to vitamin A deficiencies as well as people with asthma.

Why would there be a deficiency these days….

Unfortunately, as we know, liver is an acquired taste as is fish, and the number of people showing to be intolerant of dairy products, means that vitamin A deficiency is not a thing of the past.  Fortunately, you can supplement your diet with vitamin A which is normally contained in your daily multivitamin and mineral formula, though you can take vitamin A on its own and good where a deficiency may be apparent.  If you are not sure if you are deficient, you can take our FREE Vitamin Deficiency Test just click here.

How has supplementing with vitamin A helped us?

Since supplementation of vitamin A has become a recognized solution the mortality rate of newborns has decreased as well as malformation of embryos. It is also noted that vitamin A can help skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne and there are also reports that vitamin A may be useful in the treatment of lung function and some cancers. Eye health can be a major problem and conditions such as glaucoma, dry eyes and blurred vision to name a few benefit from vitamin A supplementation.  It is an essential vitamin for anyone suffering from alcoholism as well as PMS and is also believed to be useful to those suffering from asthma.

Who would have thought that the body relies so heavily on such a simple vitamin!

I heard vitamin A was harmful…

There is some evidence of adverse effects when you take too much vitamin A though this study supplemented with a 100 times, (20 times the RDA) the daily dose recommended for both adults and children so it is hardly surprising that adverse effects were manifested!

G&G suggest that you always read the label of any supplements you take to ensure that you are taking the recommended daily amount.

Key studies:

Mastroiacovo et al. (1997); Rothman et al. (1995)

Melhus et al. (1998); Feskanich et al. 2002).

If you want to  supplement your diet Click here!


2 responses to “So what is vitamin A and what function does it have in the body?

  1. Hi I thought you might be able to use this story:
    With all the stuff spouted by those in who’s interest it is to rid the world of such things as vitamins!
    Love from Sue (upstairs) :0)


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