Vitamin A


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Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and a necessary nutrient for people. It is a group of organic compounds that consists of retinol, retinal (also called retinaldehyde), retinoic acid, and a number of provitamin A carotenoids (most notably beta-carotene [β-carotene]. Vitamin A has several functions: it is important for embryo advancement and growth, for upkeep of the body immune system, and for vision, where it combines with the protein opsin to form rhodopsin– the light-absorbing particle necessary for both low-light (scotopic vision) and color vision.


Vitamin A takes place as 2 primary kinds in foods: A) retinol, found in animal-sourced foods, either as retinol or bound to a fat to end up being a retinyl ester, and B) the carotenoids alpha-carotene, β-carotene, gamma-carotene, and the xanthophyll beta-cryptoxanthin (all of which consist of β-ionone rings) that operate as provitamin A in herbivore and omnivore animals which have the enzymes that cleave and transform provitamin carotenoids to retinal and after that to retinol. Some carnivore types lack this enzyme. The other carotenoids have no vitamin activity.

Dietary retinol is absorbed from the digestion tract via passive diffusion. Unlike retinol, β-carotene is taken up by enterocytes by the membrane transporter protein scavenger receptor B1 (SCARB1), which is upregulated in times of vitamin A deficiency. Storage of retinol remains in lipid droplets in the liver. A high capacity for long-lasting storage of retinol suggests that well-nourished people can go months on a vitamin A- and β-carotene-deficient diet, while keeping blood levels in the typical range. Just when the liver stores are almost diminished will symptoms and signs of deficiency program. Retinol is reversibly transformed to retinal, then irreversibly to retinoic acid, which activates numerous genes.

Vitamin A shortage is common in establishing nations, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Shortage can take place at any age however is most typical in pre-school-age children and pregnant women, the latter due to a requirement to transfer retinol to the fetus. Vitamin A deficiency is approximated to affect approximately one-third of kids under the age of 5 all over the world, leading to numerous countless cases of blindness and deaths from childhood illness because of body immune system failure. Reversible night blindness is an early indicator of low vitamin A status. Plasma retinol is used as a biomarker to verify vitamin A shortage. Breast milk retinol can show a shortage in nursing mothers. Neither of these procedures indicates the status of liver reserves.

The European Union and numerous nations have actually set recommendations for dietary consumption, and upper limits for safe consumption. Vitamin A toxicity likewise referred to as hypervitaminosis A, occurs when there is too much vitamin An accumulating in the body. Signs may consist of nerve system impacts, liver irregularities, tiredness, muscle weak point, bone, and skin modifications, and others. The negative impacts of both intense and chronic toxicity are reversed after intake of high dosage supplements is stopped. [1]


Vitamin A (retinol, retinoic acid) is a nutrient essential to vision, development, cellular division, recreation and resistance. Vitamin A likewise has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that might secure your cells against the impacts of complimentary radicals– particles produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals might play a role in cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases.

Vitamin A is found in lots of foods, such as spinach, dairy items and liver. Other sources are foods abundant in beta-carotene, such as green leafy vegetables, carrots and cantaloupe. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A.

As an oral supplement, vitamin A primarily benefits people who have a poor or minimal diet plan or who have a condition that increases the requirement for vitamin A, such as pancreatic disease, eye disease or measles. If you take vitamin A for its antioxidant residential or commercial properties, remember that the supplement might not use the same advantages as naturally taking place antioxidants in food.

The suggested day-to-day quantity of vitamin A is 900 micrograms (mcg) for adult guys and 700 mcg for adult women. [2]


Vitamin A or retinol has actually a structure portrayed to the right. Retinol is the instant precursor to two crucial active metabolites: retinal, which plays an important function in vision, and retinoic acid, which functions as an intracellular messenger that impacts transcription of a number of genes. Vitamin A does not occur in plants, but numerous plants consist of carotenoids such as beta-carotene that can be transformed to vitamin A within the intestine and other tissues. [3]


Vitamin An assists form and keep healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin. It is also known as retinol since it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye.

Vitamin A promotes excellent eyesight, especially in low light. It likewise has a function in healthy pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Vitamin A is found in 2 kinds in food:.

  • Retinol: Preformed retinol is an active form of vitamin A. It is discovered in animal liver, whole milk, and some fortified foods.
  • Provitamin A carotenoids: Carotenoids are plant pigments (dyes). Once ingested, the body converts these substances into vitamin A. There are more than 500 known carotenoids. One such carotenoid is beta-carotene.

Beta-carotene is an anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants safeguard cells from damage triggered by substances called free radicals.

Free radicals are believed to:.

  • Contribute to certain long-term diseases
  • Contribute in aging

Consuming food sources of beta-carotene may lower the threat for cancer.

Beta-carotene supplements do not seem to lower cancer threat. [4]

Health advantages

Vitamin A is an important nutrient that benefits health in numerous ways.

Powerful antioxidant

Provitamin A carotenoids such as beta carotene, alpha carotene, and beta cryptoxanthin are precursors of vitamin A and have antioxidant properties.

Carotenoids safeguard your body from free radicals– extremely reactive molecules that can damage your body by producing oxidative stress.

Oxidative tension has actually been connected to persistent conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and cognitive decline.

Diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower danger of a lot of these conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and diabetes.

Essential for eye health and avoiding macular degeneration

As discussed above, vitamin A is essential to vision and eye health.

Appropriate dietary consumption of vitamin An assists safeguard versus certain eye illness, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Studies show that greater blood levels of beta carotene, alpha carotene, and beta cryptoxanthin might lower your threat of AMD by approximately 25%.

This danger decrease is linked to carotenoid nutrients’ security of macular tissue by decreasing levels of oxidative tension.

May secure versus specific cancers

Due to their antioxidant residential or commercial properties, carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables might protect against specific types of cancer.

For instance, a research study in more than 10,000 adults discovered that smokers with the greatest blood levels of alpha carotene and beta cryptoxanthin had a 46% and 61% lower risk of passing away from lung cancer, respectively, than nonsmokers with the lowest intake of these nutrients.

What’s more, test-tube studies demonstrate that retinoids might inhibit the growth of specific cancer cells, such as bladder, breast, and ovarian cancer cells.

Crucial for fertility and fetal advancement

Vitamin A is essential for both male and female recreation because it contributes in sperm and egg development.

It’s likewise vital for placental health, fetal tissue development and upkeep, and fetal growth.

For that reason, vitamin A is integral to the health of pregnant individuals and their establishing babies, along with individuals who are attempting to become pregnant.

Increases your body immune system

Vitamin An effects immune health by promoting responses that secure your body from diseases and infections.

Vitamin A is associated with the development of certain cells, consisting of B cells and T cells, which play main functions in immune reactions that defend against disease.

A shortage in this nutrient results in increased levels of pro-inflammatory particles that diminish immune system response and function.

Vitamin A favorably impacts health by keeping oxidative stress in check, boosting your body immune system, and safeguarding against specific illness. [5]
It’s only a semi-myth that eating carrots will help you see in the dark. A carrot’s primary nutrient, beta-carotene (responsible for this root vegetable’s particular orange color), is a precursor to vitamin A and helps your eyes to adjust in dim conditions. Vitamin A can’t offer you superpowers of night vision or treat your dependence on contact lenses, however consuming a sufficient quantity will support eye health.

Vitamin A likewise stimulates the production and activity of white blood cells, takes part in redesigning bone, helps preserve healthy endothelial cells (those lining the body’s interior surfaces), and regulates cell growth and division such as needed for recreation.

The two primary kinds of vitamin A in the human diet plan are preformed vitamin A (retinol, retinyl esters), and provitamin A carotenoids such as beta-carotene that are converted to retinol. Preformed vitamin A comes from animal products, fortified foods, and vitamin supplements. Carotenoids are found naturally in plant foods. There are other types of carotenoids found in food that are not converted to vitamin A but have health-promoting homes; these include lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. [6]

Vitamin A deficiency-related disorders

Disease of the eye and blindness

With an approximated 250,000 to 500,000 kids becoming blind annually, vitamin A deficiency constitutes the leading preventable reason for loss of sight in low- and middle-income nations. The earliest symptom of vitamin A deficiency is impaired dark adaptation referred to as night loss of sight or nyctalopia. The next clinical stage is the occurrence of unusual modifications in the conjunctiva (corner of the eye), manifested by the presence of Bitot’s areas. Severe or extended vitamin A deficiency eventually results in a condition called xerophthalmia (Greek for dry eye), identified by changes in the cells of the cornea (clear covering of the eye) that ultimately result in corneal ulcers, scarring, and loss of sight. Immediate administration of 200,000 global systems (IU) of vitamin A for 2 successive days is needed to prevent blinding xerophthalmia.

There is an approximated 19.1 million pregnant ladies around the world (particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America) with vitamin A shortage and over half of them are impacted by night loss of sight. The occurrence of vitamin A shortage and night blindness is particularly high throughout the 3rd trimester of pregnancy due to accelerated fetal development. Also, approximately 190 million preschool-age kids have low serum retinol concentrations (<< 0.70 μmol/ L), with 5.2 million suffering from night loss of sight. Furthermore, half of the children impacted by severe vitamin A deficiency-induced blinding xerophthalmia are approximated to die within a year of becoming blind. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Kid’s Fund (UNICEF) promote vitamin A supplementation as a public health intervention to decrease kid death in areas and populations where vitamin A shortage is prevalent.

Susceptibility to contagious diseases

Transmittable diseases have been related to depletion of vitamin A hepatic reserves (currently restricted in vitamin A-deficient subjects), lowered serum retinol concentrations, and increased loss of vitamin A in the urine. Infection with the measles virus was discovered to speed up conjunctival and corneal damage, leading to loss of sight in kids with bad vitamin A status. Alternatively, vitamin A deficiency can be thought about a nutritionally acquired immunodeficiency illness. Even children who are only mildly lacking in vitamin A have a higher occurrence of respiratory problems and diarrhea, along with a greater rate of death from measles infection compared to kids consuming sufficient vitamin A. Because vitamin A supplements may decrease both the severity and incidence of measles complications in establishing countries (see Illness Avoidance), WHO recommends that children aged a minimum of one year receive 200,000 IU of vitamin A (60 mg RAE) for 2 consecutive days in addition to basic treatment when they are infected with measles infection and live in areas of vitamin A deficiency.

A recent prospective cohort study, conducted in 2,774 Colombian children (ages, 5-12 years old) followed for a typical 128 days, likewise reported an inverted relationship between plasma retinol concentrations and rates of diarrhea with vomiting and cough with fever, the latter being a strong predictor of influenza infection (influenza). An evaluation of five randomized, placebo-controlled research studies that included 7,528 HIV-positive pregnant or breast-feeding women found no significant advantage of vitamin A supplements in minimizing the mother-to-child transmission of HIV. One early observational research study found that HIV-infected women who were vitamin A deficient were 3 to four times more likely to send HIV to their babies. Yet, no trial to date has actually provided any details on potential negative results of vitamin A supplements on mother-to-child HIV transmission.

Thyroid dysfunction

In North and West Africa, vitamin A shortage and iodine deficiency induced-goiter can exist together in as much as 50% of kids. The reaction to iodine prophylaxis in iodine-deficient populations appears to depend on different nutritional aspects, consisting of vitamin A status. Vitamin A deficiency in animal designs was discovered to hinder the pituitary-thyroid axis by increasing the synthesis and secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) by the pituitary gland, increasing the size of the thyroid gland, lowering iodine uptake by the thyroid gland and hindering the synthesis and iodination of thyroglobulin, and increasing flowing concentrations of thyroid hormonal agents. A cross-sectional study of 138 kids with concurrent vitamin A and iodine shortages discovered that the seriousness of vitamin A shortage was related to higher risk of goiter and higher concentrations of distributing TSH and thyroid hormonal agents. These kids got iodine-enriched salt with either vitamin A (200,000 IU at baseline and 5 months) or placebo in a randomized, double-blind, 10-month trial. This vitamin A supplementation significantly reduced TSH concentration and thyroid volume compared to placebo. In another trial, supplements of vitamin A to iodine-deficient children had no additional impact to iodine on thyroid status compared to placebo, but vitamin A supplements alone (without iodine) minimized the volume of the thyroid gland, as well as TSH and thyroglobulin concentrations.

Other disorders

Phrynoderma or follicular hyperkeratosis is a skin problem defined by an excessive production of keratin in hair follicles. The sores first appear on the extremities, shoulders, and butts and might top the entire body in the severest cases. While vitamin A deficiency might add to the occurrence of phrynoderma, the condition has been strongly associated with several dietary deficiencies and is thought about a sign of general poor nutrition. A rare case of esophagitis (swelling of the esophagus) has recently been attributed to hyperkeratosis secondary to vitamin A deficiency.

Likewise, vitamin A shortage affects iron mobilization, impairs hemoglobin synthesis, and speeds up iron shortage anemia that is just eased with supplementation of both vitamin A and iron. [7]

Vitamin A toxicity

That stated, consuming too much preformed vitamin A can result in vitamin A toxicity, or hypervitaminosis A.

Symptoms can:.

  • changes in skin color
  • peeling on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
  • broken skin on the fingers
  • psoriasis
  • allergic contact dermatitis
  • ectropion, which impacts the skins around the eyes
  • dry lips, mouth, and nose, which can increase the danger of infection
  • decreased sebum production

Long-term overuse can result in:.

  • modifications in bone formation
  • high cholesterol levels
  • liver damage
  • nervous system modifications causing headaches, queasiness, and vomiting

During pregnancy, consuming too much retinol can increase the risk of an infant being born with:.

  • cleft palate
  • heart issues
  • microcephaly
  • hydrocephalus, or water on the brain
  • problems with the thymus gland, which produces leukocyte

The use of the topical treatment retinol might likewise increase vitamin A levels to an unhealthy level. People tend to use retinol as an anti-aging skin cream.

Topical items can have negative impacts on the skin, though these will likely be less extreme than those resulting from oral overconsumption. Nevertheless, people ought to avoid utilizing them during pregnancy.

The highest danger of overconsumption is with supplements. A healthful, well balanced diet plan is unlikely to cause poisonous levels of vitamin A. It must likewise supply sufficient vitamin A without needing supplements.


Another possible reason for vitamin A toxicity is making use of retinol-based medications. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is one such example. Physicians sometimes prescribe isotretinoin for extreme acne.

Anybody utilizing this treatment ought to prevent taking vitamin A supplements because this drug is a vitamin A derivative.

A physician will not recommend isotretinoin if a person is pregnant or may conceive. [8]

Symptoms of Vitamin A Excess

Most people with vitamin A toxicity have a headache and rash.

Taking in excessive vitamin A over a long period of time can trigger coarse hair, partial loss of hair (including the eyebrows), broken lips, and dry, rough skin. Chronic intake of big doses of vitamin A can trigger liver damage. It can likewise trigger abnormality in a fetus.

Later on symptoms consist of serious headaches and general weakness. Bone and joint discomfort are common, especially among children. Fractures might happen quickly, especially in older people. Kids may lose their appetite and not grow and develop normally. Their skin might itch. The liver and spleen might expand.

Taking extremely high dosages of vitamin A or isotretinoin (a drug stemmed from vitamin An utilized to deal with extreme acne) during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

Consuming large amounts of vitamin An at one time can cause sleepiness, irritability, headache, queasiness, and vomiting within hours, often followed by peeling of the skin. Pressure within the skull is increased, especially in kids, and vomiting takes place. Coma and death might occur unless vitamin A consumption is stopped.

Taking isotretinoin (a vitamin A derivative used to deal with extreme acne) during pregnancy may cause abnormality. Ladies who are or who might become pregnant ought to not take in vitamin A in quantities above the safe upper limit (3,000 micrograms) due to the fact that abnormality are a danger.

Medical diagnosis of Vitamin A Excess

  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests

The diagnosis of vitamin A toxicity is based primarily on symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, physicians might also do blood tests to measure the level of vitamin A.

Treatment of Vitamin A Excess

Stopping vitamin A supplements.

Treatment of vitamin A toxicity involves stopping vitamin A supplements. Most people recover completely. [9]

How to take Vitamin A (A-25)?

Usage Vitamin A (A-25) exactly as directed on the label, or as recommended by your physician. Do not utilize in bigger or smaller quantities or for longer than suggested.

Use precisely as directed on the label, or as recommended by your doctor.

Vitamin A oral is taken by mouth.

Vitamin A injection is injected into a muscle. A doctor will provide you this injection if you are unable to take the medication by mouth, and can teach you how to appropriately utilize the medication by yourself.

Read and thoroughly follow any Instructions for Usage supplied with your medication. Ask your medical professional or pharmacist if you do not understand all directions. Prepare an injection only when you are ready to provide it.

The suggested dietary allowance of vitamin A increases with age. Follow your healthcare provider’s directions. You may likewise seek advice from the Workplace of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database (formerly “Recommended Daily Allowances”) listings for additional information.

A kid’s dose of vitamin A is based upon the age of the kid. Ask a physician or pharmacist if you have concerns about giving vitamin A to a child.

Swallow a vitamin A pill whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.

Eating fatty foods can assist your body soak up vitamin A.

Never utilize more than the advised dose of vitamin A. Avoid taking more than one vitamin product at the same time unless your doctor tells you to. Taking similar vitamin items together can result in a vitamin overdose or serious adverse effects.

The overall everyday quantity of vitamin A you receive includes vitamin A in the foods you eat integrated with taking vitamin A as a supplement.

Store at room temperature level far from moisture, heat, and light. [10]

Safety measures

Because of the potential for negative effects and interactions with medications, you need to take dietary supplements only under the guidance of a well-informed healthcare company.

Taking excessive vitamin A when you are pregnant can cause serious abnormality. Since all prenatal vitamins contain some vitamin A, you should not take a different vitamin A supplement.

Artificial vitamin A can trigger abnormality. Ladies who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant should not take this form of vitamin A.

Excessive vitamin A is hazardous and can trigger liver failure, even death. Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include:.

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint discomfort
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Dry or irritated
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Hair loss

Vitamin A from foods is thought about safe. But you can get excessive from supplements. For grownups, 19 and older, the tolerable upper limit for vitamin A is 10,000 IU daily. Speak to your doctor before taking any dosage near that quantity.

People who have liver disease or diabetes ought to not take vitamin A supplements without their medical professional’s supervision.

Smokers and people who drink heavy quantities of alcohol ought to not take beta-carotene supplements.

Both vitamin A and beta-carotene might increase triglycerides, which are fats in the blood. They may even increase the threat of death from heart problem, particularly in smokers.

Vitamin A is found in several vitamin formulas. Supplements that state “wellness formula,” “immune system formula,” “cold formula,” “eye health formula,” “healthy skin formula,” or “acne formula,” all tend to include vitamin A. If you take a variety of different solutions, you could be at risk for excessive vitamin A.

If you take big dosages of vitamin A, you might wish to avoid consuming carob. It increases the quantity of vitamin An offered in your body. [11]


In conclusion, vitamin A plays a central function in the regulation of both B-cell and T-cell function acting through gene activation by stimulating transcriptional activity. Correction of vitamin A shortage, wherever it prevails, through immunological and other systems, lowers intensity of several crucial infections. The security of huge dose vitamin A administration to very young infants with regular vitamin A status need to be well established, given some though not substantial evidence of possible impacts similar to vitamin A deficiency. [12]


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