Your body relies on nutrients to help it perform nearly all of its functions. While all nutrients play important roles in the body, vitamins are particularly critical, as they are involved in many key tasks essential to your health and well-being. There are 13 essential vitamins, and of these, vitamin A is perhaps among the most vital to good health. If you're not getting enough vitamin A, the supplements here at drugstore.com may help you enhance your diet and ensure you receive proper nutrition on a daily basis.
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Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that plays a role in the health of the eyes, reproduction, and the functioning of the immune system. In children, vitamin A also assists with normal growth and development. There are two main varieties of vitamin A. The types obtained from leafy green, yellow and orange vegetables are known as carotenoids, while the types found in dairy products and meats are called retinoids.
Am I Getting Enough Vitamin A?
In the United States, severe vitamin A deficiency is uncommon. Those most likely to experience low levels of the vitamin are premature babies, people with cystic fibrosis and people who are malnourished. A true vitamin A deficiency can produce many symptoms, the most serious of which is xerophthalmia. This eye problem is marked by the inability to see in low light. If it is allowed to persist, it can eventually lead to complete blindness.
What Do Antioxidants Do?
Vitamin A is known to be an antioxidant. Nutrients in this class help to protect the body from oxidative stress, the process that causes the organs and skin to age. Antioxidants defend the body by neutralizing the particles known as free radicals that cause stress on the body. There has been some research into whether or not vitamin A and other antioxidants help decrease the likelihood of developing cancer. So far, science has not been able to prove this hypothesis, but a few studies have shown that incidences of lung and breast cancer were lower in people with higher levels of vitamin A in their bodies.
Why Is Vitamin A Important?
The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database lists vitamin A as "possibly effective" for assisting with various other medical concerns. There is some research to suggest that vitamin A promotes clearer vision in people with age-related macular degeneration and diminishes the likelihood of the development of cataracts. Results of studies also suggest that children who are deficient of vitamin A may be better able to recover from serious illnesses like measles and malaria if they receive supplements. It's important to keep in mind that these types of findings still require further research to validate them.
Should I Take Vitamin A?
If you suspect that you're suffering from a vitamin A deficiency or have a condition for which you think vitamin A supplementation may be beneficial, talk to your doctor about your concerns. He or she can order blood tests to find out if you truly are in need of vitamin A and can help you weigh your options for complementary therapies for your health issues. Once you know what dosage of vitamin A your physician recommends, you can quickly find the perfect supplement in our collection here at drugstore.com.