Signs Of Vitamin A Deficiency
Eating well balanced food is very important. It gets even more important during pregnancy as it protects both the mother and the unborn baby from health risks.
Talking about vitamin A, it is a fat soluble vitamin. It is stored in the liver and a healthy diet can meet your body’s requirement for it. Being a powerful antioxidant, it plays a crucial role in the following:
- Preventing anemia
- Building up of a strong immune system
- Development of the organs of the foetus such as heart, lungs, bones, kidney and eyes
- Promotion of healthy fat metabolism
Signs of vitamin A deficiency
If you are not getting sufficient amount of vitamin A, you might experience things as follows:
1) Frequent skin infection
2) Dry, acne prone and scaly skin
3) Mouth ulcers or throat infections
4) Dry hair and dandruff
5) Sore eyelids and in extreme cases night blindness
Where will you get enough vitamin A from?
There exist two forms of this nutrient. The first one being retinol that is found in animal products such as milk, eggs, and liver. Retinol can be used up by the body directly. The other kind of vitamin A called carotenoids are present in fruits, veggies and have to be converted by the body into retinols. One of the most important carotenoid is beta-carotene as it gets converted more efficiently than others. The best sources of beta-carotene include yellow and orange coloured fruits such as mango, papaya, tomatoes and apricot. In veggies, carrots, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and sweet potatoes are good sources.
Pregnancy and vitamin A deficiency
The need for vitamin A is the highest during the last trimester of pregnancy. While the general deficiency of vitamin A can cause poor immunity and night blindness, deficiency in pregnancy can have negative effects on the development of the brain of the unborn baby. It can also cause infections, gastroenteritis, bone development and delayed growth.
Daily requirements of vitamin A
The daily requirement of vitamin A as per the National Institute of Nutrition is as follows:
Males- 900 mcg/day
Females- 700 mcg/day
Pregnant women- 750-770 mcg/day
Lactating women- 1300 mcg RAE
Vitamin A deficiency is more likely in those whose staple diet comprises of rice alone. It can also happen when the body cannot make use of the vitamin A consumed. Diseases that cause malabsorption of vitamin A are
- Liver cirrhosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Coeliac disease
- Gut infection
There can also be an obstruction in the flow of bile from the liver and gall bladder into the gut.
Ensure that you consume vitamin A rich foods and are free from long-term conditions that prevent the body from being able to use the vitamin A in the diet.
Hope you will now be able to recognize the signs of vitamin A deficiency and take necessary action!
You may also like reading-