Also called retinol, vitamin A is an essential element to guarantee your visual health. It is possible to find it in various forms, such as provitamin A or even beta carotene. What is his role? What are his nutritional intake? How to act in case of deficiency? Here are some questions to which we will try to bring more precision.
What is Vitamin A?
The latter is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. It is found in foods of animal origin. It is there in the form of retinol. It is also possible to take it in the form of carotenoids. In this case, we will mainly speak of beta carotene or provitamin A. These are the precursor forms of vitamin A and that can be found in plants. However, you should know that all beta carotene ingested does not necessarily turn into retinol. To obtain normal vitamin activity, it is customary to consider that the retinol is 6 times more concentrated than beta carotene.
What are the functions of vitamin A and beta-carotene?
The first is essential for vision. It plays a role in the activation of nerve impulses towards the optic nerves. This is also useful for growth since it acts on cell differentiation. In addition, it promotes cell renewal. Hence its importance for the skin and mucous membranes. Finally, this vitamin participates in the functioning of the immune system.
The second is best known for its antioxidant action. It works in synergy with other micro-nutrients, such as vitamins C and E or even selenium. These provide protection to the body against premature aging.
The nutritional benefits of vitamin A
It has been fixed, for safety reasons, that a dose higher than 1000µg per day could be toxic, if this dose is added to the recommended daily dose. Overdose is particularly dangerous for the following subjects: pregnant women and children under 3 years old. To this end, these people must at all costs avoid consuming liver, because the vitamin is found in abundance there. Here are some reference figures:
- The child from 1 to 3 years old should not consume more than 400µg/day
- Arrived at the age of 10 to 12 years, the limit dose will be 550µg/day
- Breastfeeding women should not exceed 950µg/d
Where can this vitamin be found?
the retinol is mainly found in the following foods: cod liver oil (30000µg/100g) or animal livers (1430-10500µg/100g). Some products that we consume regularly also contain it in quantity: butter (800µg/100g), eggs (235µg/100g) or even cream (390µg/100g) and cheese (265-345µg/100g).
the beta carotene is mainly present in orange or green plants, such as carrots, sweet potatoes (10500µg/100g), melon (1060µg/100g) or even spinach (4010µg/100g).
What to do in case of vitamin A deficiency
In case of vitamin A deficiencyit is necessary to be prescribed retinol. The goal is to cure the symptoms and limit the complications (case of measles).