You may have heard of retinol before as an ingredient in facial creams, but did you know that it’s also a very important nutrient for the body?
Retinol is also known as vitamin A, and it helps by increasing the body’s immunity. It also works to keep your eyes and skin in good health – vitamin A deficiency is the most common cause of blindness among children.
It is used by the body to help sustain many important functions, such as:
1. Immune System
Vitamin A increases the lymphocytic responses against disease-causing antigens, and it keeps mucous membranes moist to boost immunity and enhance the activity of white blood cells.
It prevents germs from entering your body, and also helps fight infections if they do get in, providing double protection.
Vitamin A is essential for maintaining and improving vision. It helps your eyes adjust to changes in the light, keeps them moist, and helps improve night vision. It increases the adaptability of our eyes to bright light and darkness, so it can help combat night blindness.
It also cuts down the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two conditions associated with aging.
Retinol is often used in anti-aging creams, and it helps to keep the skin soft and supple through ensuring moisture retention. It also helps to protect the body against free radicals and skin-damaging toxins.
Another benefit of vitamin A is that it cuts down excess sebum production, which helps reduce the risk of acne.
Vitamin A strengthens bones and teeth by helping to form dentine, which is a layer of hard material just below the surface of the teeth.
This vitamin keeps bones healthy and maintains their shape, which ensures proper muscle growth in children and teenagers, and reduces the chances of them developing muscular dystrophy.
Vitamin A is only required by the body in trace amounts, and the remainder is expelled. The best way to get it is to eat a regular quantity of the foods that contain it. Signs of a vitamin A overdose can be blurred vision and nausea, and severe symptoms can include an enlarged spleen and liver.
Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency
There are several symptoms of vitamin A deficiency, and these include:
• Keratinization of the skin
• Night blindness
• Itching or burning sensation in the eyes
• Inflammation of the eyelids
• Dryness of the conjunctiva (xeropthalmia)
• Dull hair and dandruff
• Brittle, easily broken nails
• Fatigue, insomnia and depression
Foods Rich in Vitamin A
Thankfully, foods rich in vitamin A aren’t hard to find or expensive to buy. They are:
• Cod liver oil
• Egg yolk
• Fortified milk
• Cheddar cheese
• Beef liver
• Yellow or orange colored fruits and vegetables
• Collard greens