What are the functions of vitamin A?

A fat-soluble nutrient, vitamin A, also known as retinol, has many important functions. Vitamin A is converted to light sensitive pigments in receptor cells of the retina, the light sensitive layer of the eye.

Vitamin A is also required for healthy reproduction and lactation. Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth, mucous membranes, skeletal and soft tissues and skin. It supports cell growth, immune function, fetal development, and vision. It is also known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye.

Vitamin A helping human body's natural defense against illness and infection (the immune system) work properly. Scientists claim that vitamin A is ‘the anti-infective vitamin,’ enabling body surfaces to act as a barrier to invading micro-organism and toxins.

One of its physiological functions is the formation and maintenance of epithelial tissue, which contributes to the body immune system. Epithelial cells (those cells present in the lining of body cavities and in the skin and glands) require vitamin A.

Provitamin A carotenoids, β -carotene is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by substances called free radicals.

Free radicals are believed to contribute to certain long-term diseases and also play a role in aging Lack of vitamin A in the diet will result in the drying up of the body cells which could lead to dermatitis, dry hair or night blindness.

Good sources of vitamin A (retinol) include: cheese, eggs, oily fish, fortified low-fat spreads, milk, yoghurt, and liver. Vitamin A is also available in dietary supplements. It most often comes in the form of retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate (preformed vitamin A), beta-carotene (provitamin A) or a combination of preformed and provitamin A.
What are the functions of vitamin A?

Popular Posts