Vitamin A, like all vitamins, needs to be ingested by the body. The body cannot synthesis Vitamin A on its own. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, which means that it is absorbed into the body in the small intestines and requires the presence of fat in the diet to be absorbed properly. Taking a multivitamin with a glass of water on an empty stomach will prevent most of the vitamin A from being absorbed, and instead it will be passed out of the body along with other fat soluble vitamins. It is always best to take vitamins with a glass of milk, or after a meal, so that both fat and water soluble vitamins are fully absorbed.
Vitamin A deficiency will result in a large number of seemingly unrelated symptoms. The symptom that usually pinpoints the problem to Vitamin A is greatly diminished night vision. Vitamin A is an essential part of normal vision. Some of the other more notable symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency include brittle and dry hair, dry skin, and frequent fingernail breakage. Vitamin A is also very important in fighting infections in the body. Vitamin A not only is important for normal skin function, but it also is important for the lining of the gastrointestinal system as well as the lungs. Extreme and prolonged deficiencies in Vitamin A could result in serious problems with breathing.
The most obvious cause of vitamin A deficiency is a poor diet. Vitamin A is found in most fruits and vegetables, but is extremely concentrated in two foods, carrots and liver. Fortunately for us, our bodies are very good at storing Vitamin A, so we don’t need to continually worry about eating these foods. In adults, the daily needs of vitamin A can be stored in advance for months in our livers. Poor diet can also cause vitamin A deficiency in a more complex way. Iron and Zinc are two minerals that are needed by the body to properly process vitamin A. A diet light in those minerals will result in vitamin A deficiency. Another cause of vitamin A deficiency is any pathology that affects the liver. The liver is the storage and release area for vitamin A, so things like chronic alcohol abuse will disrupt vitamin A availability to the body.
There is an easy way to prevent vitamin A deficiency, and that is to make sure you ingest vitamin A with enough food to properly allow absorption. If liver and carrots are not some of your favorite foods, make sure you take a supplement, either a multivitamin or vitamin A by itself. If you have a diet high in fruits and vegetables, you can probably get away without eating liver and carrots or taking the supplement. Be careful thought, too much vitamin A can cause problems, especially in pregnant women. As with most things involving a proper diet, the secret is ” all things in moderation”.