With the current trend of processed foods, one can easily be predisposed to become vitamin deficient either by not consuming the appropriate foods adequately or not absorbing them aptly due to gastric issues. One may not acquire a syndrome, but can certainly land up with impaired functioning given the fact that vitamins play an important role in all the biochemical reactions of the body. They are essential in order to maintain proper bodily functions.
In today’s editorial, let’s discuss specifically about Vitamin A which is a group of nutritionally unsaturated hydrocarbons in sheer medical terminology. Low levels or lack of Vitamin A in a human body causes Vitamin A deficiency.
The symptoms include poor night vision; dry, rough or cracked skin; dry mucous membranes; slow wound healing; nerve damage; reduced ability to taste, hear and smell; inability to perspire; reduced resistance to respiratory infections; etc.
One of the key indicators of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness, which can be described as a condition in which eyes find difficulty in adjusting to dim light in layman’s terms. Individuals suffering from night blindness are incapable of distinguishing images in low degrees of illumination, however, are able to view normally in presence of sufficient light. Roughly 250,000 to 500,000 malnourished children go blind every year in the developing countries from inadequacy of vitamin A and nearly half of them pass away within a year of turning blind.
Vitamin A deficiency is also known to have influenced maternal mortality and other grave consequences in pregnancy and lactation. Vitamin A deficient lactating mothers contain little vitamin A in their breast milk which is in turn passed on to the infant in very minute quantity.
Lack of balanced diet is the crucial component leading to vitamin A deficiency; however, low levels of iron in an individual can as well affect uptake of vitamin A whereas excessive alcohol consumption can diminish vitamin A making the liver more vulnerable to vitamin A toxicity.
If vitamin A deficiency is detected then one should start taking food products that are naturally rich in Vitamin A namely milk, cheese, cream, butter, dark green leafy vegetables and basically fruits and vegetables that are yellow and orange in color especially carrots. Vitamin A can also be taken through medication in oral and injectable forms. In extreme deficiency cases, affected individuals are provided with vitamin A solution IM or aqueous IV supplement.