Vitamin A Benefits
Vitamin A is fat soluble vitamin. When it was first discovered, scientists named it as anti-infective agent. At that time, scientist noticed lab animals got eye infections when they were given a diet low in animal foods, vegetables, and fruits. And the infections would be gone as soon as these foods were put on their diet again. It turned out this mysterious agent is a fat-soluble substance and later named as vitamin A.
Vitamin A also functions as anti-infective agent in human body. In fact, today we know a lot more about benefits of vitamin A for our body. Some of them are:
- Improve health of epithelial cells. Vitamin A helps our epithelial cells grow and repair themselves. These cells form our skins. They are also found in our cornea, lung, inner ear, etc. Vitamin A helps to keep these cells moisturized and flexible so they will be protected against any threat from micro-organism.
- Support our immune system. Vitamin A improves immune system by stimulates and enhances antibody response and the infection-fighting cells such white blood cells.
- Support growth and cells differentiation. Vitamin A is critical in growth, maintenance and differentiation of various cells including cells in our teeth, bones, lung, kidneys, and many organs. This means pregnant women need vitamin A to make sure fetal development will occur normally. Children also need vitamin A to grow properly and build strong teeth and bones.
- Maintains good vision. Vitamin A is an important component of the protein needed by retina to absorb light so we can see in dim light, even in the dark.
- Fighting the radicals. Vitamin A, especially in pro-vitamin form (carotenes), acts as antioxidants in our body. Vitamin A helps our body fighting the radicals that flooded it especially radicals in our eyes. If these radicals are not mopped up from our eyes, they will clouded them and cause cataracts.
- Fighting infections. As we mentioned before, vitamin A is essential in fighting many infections including measles and respiratory infections. Measles have been a mortals enemy of children especially children in developing countries. Many researches conclude vitamin A deficiency is a risk factor for measles. Therefore doctors give children suffering measles high doses of vitamin A. Even WHO recommends doses of 200,000 IU of vitamin A for two days to children over 1 year old with measles.
There are other benefits of vitamin A that are still under research by scientists. These include preventing Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), preventing cancer, and improving reproduction system.
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