Sunday, February 24

Vitamin A

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Change in vision is often the first sign of Vitamin A deficiency. It is commonly referred to as night blindness as it gets difficult to drive at night and see/read in dim light. It does so by inhibiting the production of a protein called rhodopsin, a pigment which helps in adjusting to low light situation. In fact, Vitamin A deficiency is one of the leading causes of preventable childhood blindness in India. Besides this, it is also responsible for causing stunted growth in them.  Dry irritated eyes, cracked lips, dry itchy skin and dry hair are other symptoms of this micronutrient deficiency. If left untreated, it can because frequent infections, diarrhea, delayed wound healing, infertility.

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that takes care of our eyes, skin, lungs, immune and reproductive system to name a few. It also acts as an antioxidant thus helping the body to fight free radical damage. This micronutrient also maintains our teeth, bones and soft tissues.

As far as the sources of Vitamin A are concerned, it Is all about colors. Get as colorful as you can get in your diet. Include red bell peppers and tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, orange carrots, yellow mangoes and apricots as all of these contain good amounts of carotene (a form of vitamin A). Other sources are sweet potatoes, whole eggs and milk. The human body does not make this vitamin, so it is very necessary to include it in our diet.

blood test lab in Delhi can detect the level of retinol which is the primary form of this vitamin in humans. Normal range is 15-60mcg/dl. World Health organization recommends Vitamin A supplementation at values below 20 mcg/dl.  Other than oral vitamin a supplements, fortified cereals and milk are also available which are enriched with vitamin A.

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