Vitamin A Deficiency And Everything You Need To Know About Vitamin A

Logically, vitamin A is one of the most important nutrients. In nature, it is found in several different forms that the body can use. This vitamin is fat soluble.

This means that it is desirable if foods rich in vitamin A are consumed together with some fatty foods for it to be easier to absorb.

Sources of vitamin A in foods

As we have already said vitamin A is found in several different forms in the body , which are converted into the required shape in the body.

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that comes from animal foods, and carotenes (most notably beta-carotene) are forms of vitamin A from plant foods.

Beta-carotene has health benefits such as lowering the risk of cancer. Let us now see the list of foods that are rich in vitamin A.

Animal sources (per 100g of product):

  • chicken livers -- 13328 IU (267% of the recommended daily value)
  •  tuna -- 2520 IU (50%)
  •  boiled eggs -- 586 IU (12%)

Plant sources:

  •   sweet potato- 19218 IU (384%)
  •   carrots -- 17,033 IU (341%)
  •  cooked kale -- 13621 IU (272%)
  •  spinach -- 10481 IU (210%)
  •  apricot -- 7404 IU (148%)
  •  lettuce -- 7404 IU (148%)
  •  gourd, pumpkin -- 4992 IU (100%)
  •  melon -- 3382 IU (68%)
  •  red peppers -- 3131 IU (63%)

What is the purpose and function of vitamin A in the body?

This vitamin plays a role in many bodily processes:

  •   supports the immune system
  •  keeps skin health
  •  vision, especially night vision
  •  production of pigment in the eye
  •  dental health
  •   health of skeletal and soft tissue
  •  beta carotene is also an antioxidant

The consequences of the deficiency and overdose

The figures above mainly exceed 100% of the daily needs but you do not have to be afraid of an overdose of beta carotene from plant sources.

The only consequence that can happen is that you can get slightly orange skin tone, because beta carotene is the most common pigment in most orange vegetables.

This color will go off when you stop eating these foods excessively.

Regarding the overdoses from animal sources, it is also uncommon. It usually overdoses happens when people use supplements of vitamin A tablets, and have not read anything about the dosage.

If you were thinking to use this vitamin in supplement form, know that most people should not take these tablets of vitamin A, because in our environment there are plenty of foods that contain the vitamin.

If you eat enough vegetables (especially those orange ones) you have satisfied the need for this vitamin.

However, in the poor countries of Asia and Africa, vitamin A deficiency is a major problem that causes growth arrest, weakened immunity, and may lead to complete blindness.

It happens due to a very poor diet.


Vitamin A tolerates cooking well, and some sources of beta carotene, like carrots, even have better access to nutrients after cooking, because the heat treatment softens the hard fibers.