How Vitamin A Affects Your Health

How Vitamin A Affects Your Health

Vitamin A isn’t actually just one substance. It’s a group of nutritional, unsaturated organic compounds that includes Beta-Carotene, Retinal, Retinol and Retinoic Acid and several provitamin Acarotenoids. It serves a variety of functions in the body. Most notably it is needed for the health of the retina in the eyes (for low-light and color vision) and it plays an important role in growth and development. It also is used for maintaining a healthy immune system, skin, teeth, bones, soft tissues and mucus membranes. Vitamin A in the form of Beta-carotene is an anti-oxidant. Like all anti-oxidants it protects the body against free-radicals which are believed to contribute to the aging process and certain chronic diseases.

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If you don’t get sufficient Vitamin A you’re at a higher risk for vision issues and infectious diseases. However, it can be toxic in very high doses. Acute Vitamin A poisoning usually occurs when a person regularly ingests several hundred thousand IUs for a prolonged period of time. Babies and children are more sensitive to Vitamin A and may become toxic with smaller doses. Beta-carotene is not toxic even in high doses but can turn the skin a yellow or orange tint if too much is taken. The color will return to normal once the beta-carotene dose is reduced. Always follow the guidelines suggested by the manufacturer or your physician.

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