Vitamin A: Benefits, Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency

Fruits containing high level of vitamin A

What’s covered?

oranges and mangoes rich in vitamin A

Vitamin A is a vital vitamin that helps in various body activities. A vitamin A deficiency is caused by a deficiency vitamin A that cannot meet the consumption of physiological demands. It could be aggravated by high infection rates, particularly measles and diarrhoea. It is widespread in developing countries but uncommon in industrialized ones. Vitamin A deficiency is also a public health issue in more than 50% of the world's countries, particularly in Southeast Asia and Africa. In low-income nations, pregnant women and kids suffer the most severe consequences of this deficiency.

Furthermore, for most individuals, food consumption is the easiest approach to getting adequate vitamin A. Physicians may offer supplements or other types of vitamin A in certain circumstances to assist rebuild severely low reserves.

What Is Vitamin A?

soy beans with vitamin A

Vitamin A is necessary for healthy eyesight, digestion, cell formation, and the reproductive and immunological systems. Because your body cannot produce vitamin A by itself, you should obtain it from the foods you consume. Furthermore, vitamin A is essential for your eyesight. For your retinas to function correctly, your eyes must produce particular pigments. A deficiency of vitamin A impairs your eyes' capacity to make these pigments, perhaps leading to night blindness.

Vitamin A is also required by your eyes to create moisture and maintain your corneas adequately moisturized. If your corneas become too dry, they might be injured and cause blindness. It also keeps your urinary system, intestines, lungs, and skin in good condition. In addition, vitamin A aids your immune system in protecting you from illnesses.

Who Does Vitamin A Deficiency Affect?

Vitamin A deficiency is uncommon in the United States, although it may harm those who do not receive enough vitamin A. It also affects persons with liver problems or ailments impairing their body's vitamin consumption. Moreover, most individuals in developing countries across the globe do not obtain enough vitamin A. The most vulnerable are new-borns, kids, and pregnant or lactating women. Vitamin A deficiency is the major reason for childhood blindness worldwide. Annually, approximately 250,000 and 500,000 kids in the world get blind as a result of severe deficiency.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Vitamin A Deficiency?

symptoms of vitamin A deficiency

You may feel the following signs and symptoms if you lack vitamin A.

Acne And Breakouts

Because vitamin A stimulates skin growth and inhibits swelling, this could aid in treating and avoiding acne development. Acne has been related to low vitamin A levels in much research. Isotretinoin, often called Accutane, is the most well-known type of oral vitamin A utilized to cure acne. This medicine could treat acne efficiently but can also cause mood disorders and birth abnormalities.

Poor Wound Healing

Low vitamin A levels could be associated with injuries that do not recover effectively following surgery or injury. This is because vitamin A triggers collagen production, a crucial component of good skin. Studies show that topical and oral vitamin A may help boost the skin. Furthermore, older men who used topical vitamin A cream to heal wounds saw a 50% decrease in wound size compared to individuals who are not using the cream.

Chest And Throat Infections

Recurrent infections may indicate a vitamin A deficiency, particularly in the chest or throat. Although vitamin A supplementation may aid respiratory infections, study findings are conflicting. Ecuadorian research, underweight kids who got 10,000 IU of vitamin A each week had fewer respiratory infections than kids who took a placebo. Moreover, increased blood levels of the provitamin A carotenoid beta-carotene can safeguard from respiratory infections, based on one research on aged persons.

Delayed Growth

Kids who do not obtain sufficient vitamin A may experience stunted growth retardation. This is because vitamin A is needed for the proper growth of the human body. Numerous research has demonstrated that vitamin A supplementation, alone or in combination with other vitamins, may promote development. The majority of this research included youngsters from developing nations.

Trouble Conceiving And Infertility

Vitamin A is required for people's fertility and proper infant growth. A vitamin A deficiency could be one of the causes you're having problems becoming pregnant. A lack of vitamin A may assist in infertility in people. Miscarriages are also connected to vitamin A deficiency. Research examining the blood levels of several vitamins in women who had multiple miscarriages found that they were deficient in vitamin A.

Night Blindness

Night blindness may result from chronic vitamin A deficiency. Numerous research has shown that night blindness is common in underdeveloped countries. Because of the extreme effect of the disease, health practitioners have attempted to increase vitamin A levels in patients with the threat of night blindness.

Dry Eyes

Eye disorders are among the worst effect of vitamin A deficiency. In difficult situations, a lack of vitamin A may result in total blindness or withering corneas, as indicated by Bitot's spots. The earliest sign of vitamin A deficiency is dry eyes or a failure to create tears.

Dry Skin

Vitamin A is vital for developing and restoring skin cells for healthy skin. It also assists in the treatment of swelling caused by certain skin conditions. Lack of vitamin A may contribute to the development of eczema and other skin diseases. Dry skin can also result from different factors, such as severe vitamin A deficiency. Moreover, you can increase your usage of serum retinol levels to avoid dry skin issues.

How Is Vitamin A Deficiency Treated?

For many days, health professionals will address your vitamin A deficiency with high-dose vitamin A supplement. After a few days, they will make you consume reduced amounts of vitamin A until your eyesight and skin problems clear up. Vitamin A pills may allow you to recover from night blindness and re-lubricate your eyes. However, visual loss caused by corneal ulcer scarring from prolonged dietary deprivation cannot be reversed.

Infants must avoid high amounts of vitamin A since they may be harmful. On the other hand, kids may be cured with vitamin A supplements. How much vitamin will A dose prescription be determined by your children's healthcare professional? Your healthcare professional may also assist you in developing a nutritious, balanced diet that provides vitamin A-rich foods.

How Can I Prevent Vitamin A Deficiency?

eating healthy

The best strategy to avoid vitamin A deficiency is to consume a balanced diet rich in vitamin A-rich food. Foods rich in vitamin A are:

  • soybeans, wheat, potatoes, rice, and cereals that are vitamin A-fortified
  • eggs
  • salmon and other forms of fish liver oils
  • preformed vitamin A from chicken, liver, and beef
  • vitamin A fortified milk and dairy products
  • fruits that are yellow or orange, including papayas, cantaloupe, mangos, and oranges
  • orange and yellow vegetables like squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and carrots
  • green leafy vegetables and broccoli, as well as orange fruits



Vitamin A is also available as a dietary supplement in various forms. If an individual is not receiving adequate vitamin A from their diet, their physician may advise them to take a supplement. These supplements could include manufactured vitamin A, alternative forms of vitamin A, including beta carotene, preformed vitamin A, or a combination of the two.

What Will Happen If You Take Too Much Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is important for good health. Too much of it, though, may be hazardous. Hypervitaminosis A, also known as vitamin A intoxication, is often caused by excessive supplements over an extended period of time. Humans seldom overdose on vitamin A via food alone. Excess vitamin A is retained in the liver, which may cause overdose and troublesome symptoms, including disorientation, mouth ulcers, rough and dry skin, bone inflammation, visual abnormalities, or, worst complete blindness.

Furthermore, pregnant women must be extra cautious not to ingest excessive vitamin A to avoid birth abnormalities. When beginning vitamin A supplements, regularly consult with a medical professional. Individuals with certain medical disorders may require more vitamin A. Many healthy persons, however, need 700-900 mcg each day. Nursing mothers require more, whereas kids require less.


According to the World Health Organization, vitamin A deficiency is common in low-income countries but uncommon in the United States and other developed countries. Inadequate vitamin A levels may cause respiratory tract infections, delayed development, infertility, night blindness, liver disorders, and skin inflammation. Individuals with injuries or acne could have low vitamin A levels in their blood and benefit from therapy with larger dosages of the vitamin.

Furthermore, vitamin A is present in green, yellow, orange vegetables, and red plant meals, eggs, dairy, and meat. Consume a mix of these foods to obtain adequate vitamin A. See your physician or healthcare practitioner if you feel you have a deficiency in vitamin A. Correcting a deficit might be easy and effective with the correct supplements and a healthy diet.

See our vitamin A blood test here.

See our vitamin A supplement here.

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