Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The Good and the Bad Side of Vitamin A

Vitamins and minerals are necessary for a strong and healthy body. Vitamin A helps in the maintenance of good vision, healthy hair, teeth, bones and skin. Vitamin A is also important for enhancing the reproductive and the immune system functions. It helps in preventing night blindness as well as keeping moisture in the eyes. Vitamin A strengthens the body’s defences to infections. It is helpful in delaying the form of melanoma, a certain form of skin cancer. Vitamin A helps in the development of the foetus as well as the placenta throughout pregnancy. It is important in maintaining mucous membranes, epithelial tissues, lining in the gastrointestinal tract, bladder, lungs, vagina, skin and cornea. It also prevents the dryness of skin.

Fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin A are absorbed in our body may lead to several side effects. Excess vitamin A may cause headaches, hair loss, blurred vision, liver damage and yellow pigmentation. If you are consuming too much vitamin A, you may experience symptoms such as dry skin, low-grade fever, bleeding gums, drowsiness, sore mouth, severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Congenital abnormalities and fetal malfunction may also be experienced.

Vitamin A is naturally found in foods such as liver, egg yolks, fish liver oils and cream. Fresh vegetables that have beta-carotene are also good source of vitamin A.

Vitamin A deficiency may cause weak immune system, dry skin, hair, and broken nails. Night blindness and moisture loss in the eyes are also obvious signs of vitamin A deficiency. It may cause dysfunction to the respiratory and digestive system. If you are experiencing symptoms of vitamin A deficiency, it is best to consult your doctor for necessary treatment.

Vitamin A is believed to help in the prevention of acne and certain types of cancer as well as in treatment of psoriasis. It is efficient in the treatment of wrinkled and dry skin and in the protection against pollution. Vitamin A heals sunburns and treats inflammatory bowel disease, kidney stones and deafness.

Children must be careful in taking vitamin A because they are more prone to the side effects caused by too much consumption of vitamin A. Excessive vitamin A intake of children may cause increased brain pressure, paralysis, swelling of optic disc and cranial nerve dysfunction. Other symptoms of vitamin A overdose are itching, loss of appetite, irritability, weight loss, swelling and bone tenderness.

Adults may also experience symptoms due to over dosage of vitamin A including skin roughness, dryness and cracking of the corners in the mouth. Adults may suffer alopecia or hair loss, increased pressure in the brain, loss of appetite and other symptoms comparable to brain tumour.

If you have hypersensitivity to vitamin A, you must avoid taking vitamin A supplements. Pregnant women must prevent excessive intake of vitamin A to avoid dangerous effects to the fetus such as malformation.

Foods with Olestra, mineral oil and cholestyramine may have harmful effects in the accumulation of vitamin A. People who are taking Soriatane or Tegison and Accutane must prevent using vitamin A supplements.

Before taking any vitamin and mineral supplements, make sure that you are aware of the benefits as well as the side effects they may cause.


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