Vitamin A

Vitamin A (and the Carotenoids)

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Description

A fat soluble vitamin.
Vitamin A comes in two forms:
1/ Carotene (Pro vitamin A) must be converted into vitamin A before it can be absorbed in the body
2/ Preformed Vitamin A
In the retina, transformation of light energy into the nerve impulses the brain perceives as vision
Proper growth and development of the skin and mucus membranes
Antibody production by white blood cells and activity of T cells
Steroid hormone synthesis, including production of corticosteroids, androgens, and oestrogens
Sperm count and motility in males
Growth and development during childhood and adolescence Iron transport and erythrocyte production
Myelin synthesis in the nervous system Bone growth and repair

Increased Risk of Deficiency
Poor night vision
Stress, infection, or surgery
Fat malabsorption
Dry skin
New-borns (particularly premature infants)
Diabetes and hypothyroidism (conversion of carotenes to vitamin A is impaired)
Acne
Ear infections
Bladder infections
Heavy alcohol consumption
Cigarette smoking
Exposure to air pollution, toxic metals (cadmium)
Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency
Dryness, itching, and redness of the conjunctiva
Night blindness – reduced ability to see in the dark
Painful joints and bones
Dry itchy skin with rash
Decalcification and spontaneous fractures of bones
Dry, brittle hair and nails
Loss of sense of smell, taste, and appetite
Fatigue Anaemia
Poor growth
Increased vulnerability to infections
Increased risk of cancer of the throat, lung, bladder, cervix, prostate, oesophagus, stomach, and colon
Impaired reproduction and fertility
Increased risk of kidney stones
Medications: cholesterol-lowering drugs, laxatives, barbiturates

Good Dietary Sources
Beef liver, Halibut oil, Cod liver oil, 1 whole Egg, Cheddar cheese, Spinach, apricots, carrots, prunes, peaches, kiwifruit, mustard greens, broccoli, kale, beet greens, alfalfa, burdock, cayenne, dandelion, endive, garlic, horseradish, kelp, lemon grass, parsley, raspberries, red clover, watercress, yellow dock.

Signs and Symptoms of Toxicity
Thinning hair
Sore lips, bruising, nose bleeds,
Bone pain and joint swelling
Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea
Dry skin and lips, hair loss
Headache and blurred vision
Enlargement of the liver and spleen
Hypothyroidism
Hypercalcemia
These would only occur after mega-dosing. Supplementing with vitamin C simultaneously will prevent side effects.

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Deborah Harper

Article by Debbie Harper

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