Vitamin A (Retinol) is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is stored in adipose tissues and liver. It needs a protein to be transported in the body. Its excess is not excreted, but accumulates in the body. In case of excessive accumulation, hypervitaminosis A develops.

It is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is stored in adipose tissues and liver. It needs a protein to be transported in the body. Its excess is not excreted, but accumulates in the body. In case of excessive accumulation, hypervitaminosis A develops.

Vitamin A exists in nature in two forms:

  1. In the form of retinol in products of animal origin,
  2. In the form of beta carotene in some plants, the body then converts them to retinol.

Where to get vitamin A?

Many foods contain vitamin A.

  • Products containing retinol of animal origin:
    • Milk,
    • Egg,
    • Cheese,
    • animal liver,
    • oily fish,
  • Products containing beta carotene of plant origin:
    • Yellow, red, and green (leafy) vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, collard greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, and paprika
    • Yellow fruits such as mango, papaya, melon and apricot.
  • Dietary supplement products

What are the functions of vitamin A?

  • Eye health: Necessary for cells that send signals to the brain when exposed to light. It allows to see in dim light. Its deficiency develops night blindness. It is also necessary for eye epithelial cells. In its deficiency, xerophthalmia (dry eye), corneal ulcer, and blindness may develop.
  • gene regulation,
  • It is necessary for the development of embryology. Its deficiency causes congenital anomalies.
  • It supports the proper functioning of the immune system. Its deficiency causes susceptibility to infectious diseases.
  • It keeps the normal flora of the skin in balance by promoting the production of antimicrobial petidase. Deficiency develops skin infections.

What is the need for vitamin A?

  • Infants under 1 year: 400 – 600 µg/day,
  • Children 1-8 years: 400 – 900 µg/day,

Men:

  • 9-13 years: 600 – 1700 µg/day
  • 14-18 years: 900 – 2800 µg/day,
  • Over 19 years old: 900 – 3000 µg/day,

Women:

  • 9-13 years: 600 – 1700 µg/day,
  • 14-18 years: 700 – 2800 µg/day
  • Over 19 years old: 700 – 3000 µg/day,

Pregnant women: 770 – 3000 µg/day,

Lactation period: 1300 – 3000 µg/day.

What happens in vitamin A deficiency?

It is more common in Africa and Southeast Asia. Pregnant women and young children are at greater risk. In addition to dietary habits, systemic diseases and alcohol addiction may be factors.

  • night blindness,
  • xerophthalmia (dry eye), corneal ulcers if advanced, blindness,
  • skin infections,
  • Congenital anomalies (vascular and cardiological etc.),
  • susceptibility to infections.

What happens if vitamin A accumulates too much?

Food supplements are the most important factor. In addition to those taken with food, it sometimes causes accumulations when taken without the supervision of a doctor. Consuming large amounts of certain foods, particularly animal liver or liver paste, may also be responsible.

Symptoms vary depending on the amount taken in excess. Headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, skin reactions may develop.

Excessive intake of vitamin A for many years can affect bone development and lead to bone fractures.

Too much intake at one time can develop serious problems that can lead to coma.

It is recommended to consume foods proportionally and not to take food supplements in addition to foods. If you eat liver or liver paste once a week, you don’t need supplements.