Health Benefits Of Vitamin A (Retinoid)

Health Benefits Of Vitamin A (Retinoid)

Why do people take vitamin A (Retinoid)?

Topical and oral retinoids are common prescription treatments for acne and other skin conditions, including wrinkles. Oral vitamin A is also used as a treatment for measles and dry eye in people with low levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A is also used for a specific type of leukemia.

Vitamin A has been studied as a treatment for many other conditions, including cancers, cataracts, and HIV. However, the results are inconclusive. 

Most people get enough vitamin A from their diets. However, a doctor might suggest vitamin A supplements to people who have vitamin A deficiencies. People most likely to have vitamin A deficiency are those with diseases (such as digestive disorders) or very poor diets.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin A (Retinoid)

Human vision requires the presence of the vitamin A in sufficient amounts - its deficiency can cause a number of visual problems, however, this vitamin is necessary for a lot of other things besides the mere adjustment of the human eyes to dark conditions. The vitamin A is has a very important role in the protection and regulation of at least three primary senses in human beings. The presence of sufficient quantities of the vitamin A is vital to fight off infections and pathogens of all kinds. This vitamin also holds great promise in fighting off a variety of other problems and disorders; it has a potential use in the treatment of abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding and serious diseases such as cancer.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin A (Retinoid)

The function of the vitamin A in eyesight is the inspiration behind vitamin A's chemical name of retinol. Some trace amount of this vitamin must always be present in a healthy retina as the vitamin is an active participant in all the chemical processes by which light entering the eye, stimulates the rod cells in the eye and the cone cells into the transmission of visual impulses to the human brain's visual region.

Vitamin A is not required by the eyes alone and many other processes and tissues need this vitamin for proper functioning. The healthy structure and proper functioning of the epithelial tissues, such as the layers of tissue that cover an organ or the entire organism - skin and mucous membranes depend on the presence of the vitamin A at the cellular level. The maintenance and proper development or growth of bones and teeth is also influenced by the vitamin A in the human body. The suspected role of vitamin A in the function and structure of all biological membrane systems is an area of focus in some of the current biological researches; such studies particularly focus on the "border" membranes that lie between different cells in the body.

The formation of a proper structure and the functioning of the adrenal glands are also dependent on the vitamin A, this gland through its hormones controls and regulates the body's response to stress of all kinds. The adrenal glands secrete hormones whenever the body is under a lot of stress, these hormones then stimulate the various organ systems and enable the body to deal with the stress resulting in the fight or flight reflex. It is important to remember that the stress responses in human beings evolved when stress was primarily an answer to immediate physical danger. The body still prepares itself for a fight or a flight away from the danger even if only very little of stressors in the contemporary world can be dealt with by the use of physical force alone. When the body responds to stress, there is a speeding up of the heart rate, the blood pressure is raised and the rapid conversion of stored fats and proteins to produce extra energy occurs with the concomitant use of all the reserve sugars - all this energy is made immediately available to the muscles in seconds through hormonal stimulation.

There is a great variation in the human requirement for the vitamin A at any one time. A person can be prevented from receiving an adequate supply of the vitamin by a whole host of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Oxidation for example destroys stores of the vitamin in the body, while heat is not destructive for the vitamin. However, the presence of heat increases the rate of oxidation of the vitamin. Therefore the content of vitamin A in foods can be drastically reduce after foods are cooked for long periods of time at very high temperatures, followed subsequently by exposure to the air during storage of the vitamin. At the same time, cooking is essential to get the vitamin A content in plants; this vitamin is not readily available to human digestion till some cooking has managed to soften the cell walls that make up the vegetable tissues. The cell walls of plants are made to release their store of vitamins by smashing, blending or liquefying vegetables before eating them, this make more of the vitamin A available to the person eating the food. Many factors also influence the vitamin A content of different vegetables and this varies greatly as well, some factors such as the richness and condition of the soil, the amount of sunlight received by the plant are important among other factors both intrinsic and extrinsic to the plant.

The vitamin A is soluble in lipid rich mediums and is considered a fat soluble vitamin for this reason - this means its structure contains water repelling elements which cannot be mixed with water. Getting vitamin A from dietary sources does not invariably mean the consumption of a lot of fatty foods. Vitamin A is actually formed in the human intestine from the provitamin A - the pigment carotene, that is present in abundant amounts in the yellow and orange pigments that gives color to many vegetables and fruits used by man. The presence of a little fat in the intestine however, does help a little when the vitamin is ingested and this fat makes assimilation of the vitamin into the body a lot easier. The absorption of the vitamin A and all other fat soluble vitamins is also disrupted in the presence of any conditions in the body, which result in the interference with the absorption of fat - vitamin A absorption is also inhibited in such scenarios. The disorders that can lead to the inhibition of vitamin A absorption include chronic diarrhea, any biliary or pancreatic dysfunction, the presence of celiac disease or mineral oil consumption. The storage site for absorbed vitamin A lies in the liver and in all other fatty portions of the body with plenty of lipids.

A vitamin A deficiency can develop in people who severely limit their consumption of foods like liver, dairy products and beta-carotene containing vegetables. Poor night vision is one of the earliest signs of vitamin A deficiency. The vitamin A deficiency produces physical symptoms such as dry skin, a great increase in the risk of infections as well as metaplasia -a tissue level pre-cancerous condition affecting some area of the body. In the modern Western world, the onset of severe vitamin A deficiencies leading to blindness are extremely rare these days.

High doses of antioxidants (including vitamin A) may actually do more harm than good. Vitamin A supplementation alone, or in combination with other antioxidants, is associated with an increased risk of mortality from all causes, according to an analysis of multiple studies.

Health Benefits Of Vitamin A (Retinoid)

Vitamin A Supplements: Can you get vitamin A naturally from foods?

Half to 65% of the adult RDA for vitamin A is easily obtained simply by eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Good food sources of retinoid vitamin A include:

  • Eggs
  • Whole milk
  • Liver
  • Fortified skim milk and cereals
Plant sources of vitamin A (from beta-carotene) include carrots, spinach, and apricots.

Carotene is found in vegetable sources such as all dark green and leafy vegetables, in vegetables colored a deep yellow as well as tomatoes and in carrots - after which it is named. Both, the natural and synthetic forms of the vitamin A supplements are available in the market in a wide range dosages. Individuals affected by digestive problems that interfere with the absorption of fat can use supplemental forms of the vitamin that are easier to absorb even in the presence of water. The price of the natural vitamin A from fish liver oils is usually competitive with respect to the synthetic forms of the vitamin.

Vitamin A (Retinoid) Side effects and cautions

Side effects of Vitamin A (Retinoid)

Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include dry skin, joint pain, vomiting, headaches, confusion.

Vitamin A intakes above 25,000 UI or 7,500 mcg daily in older adults can in the rarest of cases lead to the development of certain symptoms like persistent headaches, the drying out of skin, hair loss and constant physical fatigue, problems in the bones as well as long term liver damage. These problems can become very common if the doses of the vitamin A are at the higher dosage levels exceeding 100,000 UI per day.

Interactions of Vitamin A (Retinoid)

If you take any medicines, ask your doctor if vitamin A supplements are safe. Vitamin A supplements may interact with some birth control pills, blood thinners (Coumadin), acne medicines (Accutane), cancer treatments, and many other drugs.

Risks of Vitamin A (Retinoid)

Don’t take more than the RDA of vitamin A unless your doctor recommends it. High doses of vitamin A have been associated with birth defects, lower bone density, and liver problems. People who drink heavily or have kidney or liver disease shouldn’t take vitamin A supplements without talking to a doctor.