Vitamin A is a fat soluble alcohol (retinol) abundantly found in animal protein foods like eggs, liver, fish. It is not abundantly available in plant but some vegetables and fruits contain a pigment called beta carotene or provitamin A, that is converted to vitamin A in the process of the body’s metabolic activity.
In man, Vitamin A is essential for growth, vision and skin. The vitamin A is converted into a compound called retinaldehyde that is a component of rhodopsin and helps enhance vision. Retinoic acid is also essential for maintenance of epithelial tissues and proper functioning of the immune system.
Its requirements are in very nominal amounts in the human body. Intake for adult men and women are around 1000 and 800 micrograms but for pregnant and nursing mothers and children. The metabolic functions of Vitamin A include, improving vision, embryonic development and reproduction bone metabolism and skin health.
Although specifically vitamin A is essential for vision and body growth, it has a huge role to play in skin health and it is today extensively used in dermatology as a treatment to many skin problems.
Vitamin A tightens the dermis, thereby making the skin firm and reduces wrinkles. It is used for treating skin ailments like acne, ulcer and sunburns. It increases deposition of collagen and therefore significantly slows down the skin aging process. Apart from that, it is known to exfoliate and smoothen skin. Vitamin A helps repair the cellular structure of the skin thereby protecting the skin from the harmful UV rays. It reduces black spots, pigmentation and freckles, as it does not let the melanin granules cluster on the surface of the skin. It is known to treat acne brilliantly since it reduces sebum production and does not let the sebaceous gland inflate on bacterial action. In addition to all this, vitamin A increases the health of the cell membrane and also hydrates the skin cells. If taken in proper compositions, it can help eradicate pre cancerous lesions.
Vitamin A can be both consumed as capsules and applied in the form of creams that are easily available. Capsules should be consumed at least twice a week. If you are using it in cream form, it is better to apply at night.
Vitamin A is very important for your infant who needs proper nourishment during his growth years. Since it is present in very little quantities in the food you regularly eat or give your infant, it is necessary to take vitamin A externally during the growth years. It can also be given to adolescent girls and boys and it will help them grow taller and have better eyesight, which is very important for children now-a-days as they spend long hours in front of the television or computer and reading books. It will also boost their skin health. A vitamin that has antioxidant properties and makes your skin look ever youthful is definitely a keep in our busy lifestyle where we don’t have time to focus on a balanced diet.