Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

How to know if you have a vitamin A deficiency ?

In 1913, the vitamin A is the first to be discovered by scientists. It is a fat-soluble organic substance, which means that it is soluble in water or in fat. It can be found in the body in the form of retinol, beta-carotene or preformed vitamin A. Today, more than 250 million children are at risk of vitamin A deficiency. But what are the consequences ? How to know if you are deficient in this vitamin ?

What is the role of vitamin A ?

The liver contains more than 90% of vitamin A in the body. This body stores up to 60% of the vitamin A that you ingest through your diet. It will then release these according to the needs of the body.

Vitamin A is very essential to our health and its main role is to support the functioning of the eyes. It helps to improve vision, from your earliest years to old age. This vitamin allows the eye to adapt well in the dark.

This element contributes to the normalization of the genetic capital by carrying out a transcription of the genes. It also helps in bone growth and immune system strengthening. In association with iron, this vitamin is involved in the regulation of inflammation.

Vitamin A is essential to improve the health of the skin and mucous membranes. It protects the eyes, the intestines or the respiratory tract from various bacteria and viruses.

How to know if you have a vitamin A deficiency ?

Pregnant and breastfeeding women, but also young children, are most often subject to this deficiency. This type of lack is not very common in developed countries, but it is very present in poor countries.

Unfortunately, the effects of this deficiency are not apparent until later. It can cause blindness, paralysis and death. However, there are a few signs that can put doctors on the trail of vitamin A deficiency in a person.

Vision test

Vitamin A deficiency often affects the eyes first. To diagnose this deficiency, it is necessary to pay attention to the person's general behavior. But in general, it can be deficient in vitamin A when it suddenly has trouble moving in the dark.

When the lighting is poor, the person cannot find his or her way and often stumbles. Sometimes she can't even find the cutlery and food on the table when the light is reduced. This sign is called "night blindness".

Changes in the eyes

Certain external signs can alert a person to the presence of a vitamin A deficiency. They become red and can dry out, causing irritating itching. A person deficient in vitamin A can also have his eyes systematically closed.

Conjunctival xerosis

It is a drying out of the conjunctiva that causes spots to appear on the conjunctiva. It loses its brightness and can sometimes be pigmented. If the deficiency is not treated, this xerosis will be accompanied by Bitot spots.

The multiplication of infections

When a person is subject to a lack of vitamin A, he or she becomes more susceptible to certain infectious diseases. The immunity is decreased, the deficient can easily be affected by recurrent diseases such as measles and pneumonia. But you may also notice periods of recurrent diarrhea or stunted growth in children.

These deficient people often have a loss of appetite and significant weight loss.

Vitamin A deficiency is not always visible, especially when there are no symptoms. This deficiency is said to be asymptomatic, until significant signs appear.

How to treat vitamin A deficiency ?

It is necessary to act quickly in cases of vitamin A deficiency. This deficiency can cause irreversible blindness, but also weaken the immune system. The prevention of this lack is reflected in the increase of the level of vitamin A in the body.

Depending on the needs, the doctor may prescribe a dose of vitamin A supplements. It will be important to treat recurrent diseases that the person may have.

What foods are rich in vitamin A? 

Vitamin A intake can also be obtained through a healthy and balanced diet. It is therefore necessary to follow a dietary program rich in vitamin A.

  • You can find a large quantity of this vitamin, in the form of retinol, in dairy products. Whole milk and skim milk contain a lot of vitamin A.
  • This vitamin is essential to the body and can be obtained from animal products. It is then recommended to consume meat and fish, but also eggs, offal and liver.
  • Fruits and vegetables are a source of beta-carotene. Choose carrots, mango, papaya and sweet potatoes with orange flesh.

Know that it is necessary to combine these plants with fat to facilitate the absorption of beta-carotene. A little walnut or olive oil is enough for this.

By admin