Vitamin A: Benefits And Best Sources

All vitamins and minerals are essential for your overall health. Know the beenfits and best sources of Vitamin A. Read on. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Apr 25, 2022Updated at: Apr 25, 2022
Vitamin A: Benefits And Best Sources

Vitamin A is an extremely important vitamin that the body requires for growth and development. It is also crucial for cell recognition, immunity, eye health and better reproduction. It enhances the functioning of your heart, lungs, kidneys, and several other organs of the body. For every human, of is essential to include right  amounts of vitamin A in your diet as it will help in preventing the symptoms of this vitamin's deficiency. A vitamin A deficiency can lead to hair loss, skin issues, dry eyes, night blindness and higher risk of infections.

There are two main types of vitamin A in our diet and they are preformed vitamin A (retinol, retinyl esters), and provitamin A carotenoids like beta-carotene that are converted to retinol. Preformed vitamin A can be consumed through animal products, fortified foods, and supplements. While, carotenoids are found naturally in plant based foods. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dt. Ritika samaddar, Regional Head- South Zone, Dietetics, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, to know about the health benefits and best sources of Vitamin A. 

Health benefits of vitamin A 

The evidence suggests that eating a variety of foods rich in vitamin A, especially fruits and vegetables, is protective from certain diseases, though the health benefit of vitamin A supplements is less clear. Here are the health benefits of Vitamin A foods: 

1. Promotes eye health 

Vitamin A is essential to maintain vision and eye health. Adequate dietary intake of vitamin A helps protect against certain eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This risk reduction is linked to carotenoid nutrients’ protection of macular tissue by lowering levels of oxidative stress. Night blindness occurs in people with vitamin A deficiency, as the vitamin is a major component of the pigment rhodopsin.

2. Boosts immune system

Vitamin A impacts immune health by stimulating responses that protect your body from illnesses and infections. Vitamin A is involved in the creation of certain cells, including B cells and T cells, which play central roles in immune responses that guard against disease. A deficiency in this nutrient leads to increased levels of pro-inflammatory molecules that diminish immune system response and function.

Also read: Diet For Healthy Eyes: Learn How These Nutrients Can Work Wonders for Your Eyes

3. May prevent cancer 

Due to their antioxidant properties, carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables may protect against certain types of cancer. Many experts have looked at whether or not adequate intakes of carotenoids can help reduce the risk of lung, prostate, and other types of cancer. However, research has produced mixed results.

4. Good for hair and skin 

Vitamin A is important in the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair. It contributes to the production of sebum, which is the oil that helps maintain levels of moisture in the skin and hair. Vitamin A promotes bone health and leads to healthy reproduction as well.

Vitamin A sources 

vitamin a

Also read: Check Out The 5 Best Vitamins For Skin And Their Benefits

Vitamin A contributes to various bodily functions and helps prevent a range of problems. The form of vitamin A will depend on the source. Here are the best sources of Vitamin A: 

  • Tomatoes 
  • Green leafy vegetables 
  • Fish 
  • Beef 
  • Carrots 
  • Bell pepper 
  • Sweet potato 
  • Mango 
  • Milk 
  • Avocado 
  • Papaya 

The recommended intake of vitamin A varies according to age. People also need more during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. It is available in several forms, and the vitamin A content in foods is often measured as retinol activity equivalents (RAEs). Preformed vitamin A can be toxic when people consume too much, either through their diet or through supplementation.