Vitamin A (retinol) helps maintain epithelial tissue and is required for the formation of photoreceptor pigment in the retina which plays an important part in vision. About 80-90% of the body’s total vitamin A is stored in the liver.

As with any vitamin or mineral in the body stores can fluctuate. Vitamin A deficiency is normally directly related to nutrition and can be the result of inadequate dietary intake, fat malabsorption or liver disorders.

Prolonged dietary deprivation of β-Carotene and other provitamins contained in green leafy and yellow vegetables as well as deep or bright coloured fruits will result in vitamin A levels being depleted.

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Interestingly these foods if eaten raw or unprepared on their own might not adequately replenish vitamin levels. Cooking your food and adding some fat (eg. Oil) will aid the absorption better in the body.

Stay away from the smoothies, eat and prepare your food the old fashioned way!

Vitamin A deficiency is also common in prolonged protein under nutrition and conditions like celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic insufficiency and cirrhosis where the transport and storage of Vit A is defective.

The possible effects of low Vit A in babies and small children are night blindness to full blindness. Vit A inefficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the developing world.

Low levels further increase the Mortality risk and increase severity of infections, in particular Measles and diarrhoea.

Effects on the skin can range from drying, scaling, and follicular thickening. The immune system is also affected negatively with and impairment can lead to respiratory infections.

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What we can take away is eat your greens, eggs and other food to protect your eyes, skin and keep your immune system strong!

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