Facts about Vitamin A chemical name, sources and deficiency diseases

Vitamin A name is retinol and plays an important role in vision. In this post let us know the facts about Vitamin A Rich foods, its chemical name and about its deficiency diseases.

Chemical Name of Vitamin A:

Retinol is the chemical name of Vitamin A.

Sources of Vitamin A
Sources of Vitamin A (Source:ADAM/Flickr)

Vitamin A Sources or Vitamin A rich foods

Liver, eggs, butter, whole milk, fish, meat, cod liver oil, shark liver oil are the richest sources of retinol. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and amaranth, other vegetables like carrots, tomato, pumpkin, fruits like papaya and mango are the good sources of carotene.

Vitamin A Deficiency Diseases

The diseases which occur due to the deficiency of Vitamin A are Night blindness, xeropthalmia, rupture of cornea and  scale formation on the skin.

If vitamin A is deficient, it leads to disorders of the eyes and affects the vision.

Some disorders of the eyes are :

  1. Night Blindness : The person cannot see the objects when there is dim light and in nights.
  2. Xeropthalmia : It is also known as dry eyes. Tears are not produced by the lacrimal glands of the eyes. Due to this, conjunctiva or the outer most layer of the eye becomes dry.
  3. Cornea becomes soft and bursts open which leads to loss of vision and permanent blindness. This is called as nutritional blindness and is the major cause of blindness in the children in our country.
  4. Skin becomes scaly, rough and is covered with small eruptions called as papillae, the skin looks like that of a toad.
  5. Reproductive functions may also be affected due to this deficiency.

Prevention of Night Blindness:

Retinol can be stored in our body for longer duration like 6 to 9 months. National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad has evolved a method for the prevention of night blindness and loss of vision in children who are facing vitamin A deficiency by giving large dose of vitamin A to school children once in 6 months. The deficiency can be prevented by regular intake of fresh green leafy vegetables and carrots.

Carrots prevents Vitamin A Deficiency
Carrots prevents Vitamin A Deficiency (Source: Flickr/ADAM)

Daily requirements of Vitamin A : (in micrograms)

  • Men – 750 IU
  • Women – 750 IU
  • Pregnant mothers – 750 IU
  • Boys – 750 IU (16 to 18 years)
  • Girls – 750 IU (16 to 18 years)

1 microgram=40 IU

Functions and Vitamin A Benefits

Retinol is required for normal vision of the eyes by producing the pigments like rhodopsin of rods and idopsin of cones which are present in the retina of the eye.

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and supports the growth of skeletal system and protects it from the infections.

Retinol is readily available in the foods of animal origin where as in plants, it is present in the form of a compound called as carotene. Vitamin A is converted to retinol in our body.

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