There are many Vitamin A benefits to be aware of. It can also be known as retinal or retinol, and primarily, benefits the skin, bones, teeth, and eyes.
Though it is a vitamin with widespread uses in the body, it is often most commonly associated with the eye due to the name "retinal" which reflects how it is used in the retina for sight.
Vitamin A benefits your sight by interacting with chemicals in your retina to allow you to see. You may be aware that the are "rods" and "cones" in our eyes, and that the rods help us see contrast while the cones help us see color. In low light situations we rely more on our rods to see, and in the dark we rely completely on them for our night vision.
Vitamin A directly affects whether our rods work or not so with no Vitamin A, our rods do not function properly and for this reason a deficiency commonly starts with loss of night vision and blindness.
The benefits of this vitamin are not known all around the world where up to half a million children in developing countries become blind due to the deficiency.
Another one of the Vitamin A benefits is for our skin and it is often advertised as an ingredient in skin care products. Retinoids are compounds that are related to Vitamin A and have the same mechanism of action in our skin. In skin Vitamin A tells cells when to become mature, when to die, and regulates keratin (the stuff that makes our skin smooth). Without enough Vitamin A your skin can become flaky and develop plaques of keratin, white bumps that won't go away.
Supplementing your diet with Vitamin A benefits your skin by keeping it healthy and working the way it should.
In the rest of your body Vitamin A deficiency can cause illnesses like UTI's and meningitis by compromising your immune system. It can weaken the enamel of your teeth and even cause reproductive issues. Vitamin A is a crucial part of a balanced diet.
Sources of Vitamin A include green, leafy vegetables, orange fruits and vegetables, and liver. Though dairy, egg, meat, and liver are fairly good sources of Vitamin A, they also contain a lot of saturated fats which should be avoided when undertaking certain types of diet plans.
For this reason, the best way to get Vitamin A is through green leafy vegetables. Broccoli leaves, spinach, and collard greens. Carrots contain beta carotene which is famously good for night vision -- that's because beta carotene basically becomes Vitamin A in your body!
Without Vitamin A you will see negative health consequences like skin problems, tooth damage, immune system weakness, night blindness, and fatigue. You will also be more prone to diseases and illnesses. Chronic or acute deficiency can even cause blindness so it's crucial that you supplement your diet with Vitamin A to avoid these complications.