Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for proper development and functioning of eyes, skin and immunity. Acting as an antioxidant, it also helps protect cells against free radical damage. It is especially critically needed during pregnancy and early childhood development. Being fat-soluble in nature, it means that vitamin A is stored by in the liver and fat tissue therefore excessive amounts may be negatively affect the body. Symptoms of excessive consumption include nausea, dizziness and headaches.
Vitamin A comes in two forms:
Provitamin A (carotenoids)
- The inactive form found in plants include green, yellow and orange vegetables
- Usually converted into preformed vitamin A in the body
Preformed Vitamin A (retinol, retinal, retinoic acid)
- The active form found in animal products include eggs, meat, cheese, animal organ meats like liver
- Often used more readily by the body
Symptoms of a deficiency in vitamin A include dry skin, dry eyes, poor growth and night blindness.