Vitamin A, also called retinol, is an essential vitamin that helps the retina adjust to light. Health benefits of vitamin A include aiding the normal development of the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. Vitamin A keeps these organs moist and fends off viral infections. It also aids in the building of teeth and bones. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and its deficiency causes diseases such as night blindness that might eventually lead to complete blindness.
Vitamin A is present in abundance in fish liver oils, liver, cream, egg yolk, and butter. Some fruits and vegetables such as carrots contain a pigment called carotene, which is converted to vitamin A by the body.
The benefits of vitamin A are several. It helps in building and maintaining epithelial cells, which are essential for healthy looking skin. Its deficiency gives the skin a goose-pimpled look. Health benefits of vitamin A also include protection against free radicals because of its antioxidant properties. This in turn prevents premature aging. These radicals are responsible for various degenerative conditions such as atherosclerosis, arthritis, etc.
Additionally, the benefits of vitamin A include prevention of cancer in organs and glands with epithelial tissues, for example, the breasts. The cancer prevention benefits of vitamin A extend to other organs lined with the epithelial tissues such as the stomach, bladder, lungs, and reproductive organs. Lastly, vitamin A helps the body fend itself against respiratory tract infections. To recap, the top five health benefits of vitamin A include:
- Normal development of the eyes, skin, teeth, bones, and mucous membranes
- Prevention of night blindness
- Prevention of premature aging
- Prevention of cancer in organs lined with epithelial tissues
- Prevention of viral and respiratory tract infections
Vitamin A supplements include dietary supplements and vitamin A lotions and creams. The benefits of vitamin A creams and lotions are several. Topical retinol (creams and lotions) reduce fine wrinkles associated with natural aging. Aging skin treated with retinol is generally able to withstand skin injury. In addition, the skin is also likely to become healthier and more beautiful, with an increased ability to withstand ulcers.
Dietary supplements of vitamin A, though recommended in some cases such as pregnancy, cannot take the place of a healthy diet. A supplement of vitamin A must be taken with great caution, particularly because such substitutes are available over-the-counter. Consult your physician before you start on a dietary supplement of vitamin A as it might result in adverse reactions.
Keep in mind; a wholesome diet that includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and pulses will certainly be more beneficial than a supplement. Such a diet will provide the body with all the health benefits of vitamin A as well as those of other minerals and vitamins.
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