The 5 Benefits of Vitamin A
5 Strong Heart and Blood Flow
Your body needs vitamin A and retinoids in particular to produce red blood cells. A deficiency of vitamin A can result in anemia or worsen the effects of iron-deficiency anemia. Stem cells normally change into white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets. A mutation in this process causes immature leukemic cells and leads to a particular type of leukemia. Doctors use vitamin A to successfully restore normal blood cell production for some of these leukemia patients.
4 Healthy Growth and Development
Vitamin A interacts with thyroid hormones and vitamin D to differentiate cells and influence human growth and development. Doctors may prescribe vitamin A supplements to pregnant women who are deficient to encourage the healthy growth of the fetus—but supplements shouldn’t be taken without a doctor’s advice, as an excess of vitamin A may also cause birth defects. As the fetus develops, vitamin A assists in limb development and is essential for growth of healthy ears, eyes and heart. Sufficient vitamin A is also important for mothers who are breast-feeding.
3 Robust Immune System
Your immune system requires vitamin A to function properly. Your body uses retinoids, the active form of vitamin A acquired by consuming animal products, to produce and maintain white blood cells. White blood cells fight off disease and infection. Beta-carotene, a different form of vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables, is an anti-oxidant that works to protect essential cells from pollutants and toxins. However, you can have too much of a good thing. While a vitamin A deficiency makes you more vulnerable to infection, consuming too much vitamin A, especially by taking vitamin supplements, can make you sick.
2 Clear Skin
Despite being named for their role in promoting eye health, retinoids also help form and maintain healthy skin cells. Doctors may prescribe topical vitamin A creams for a variety of skin conditions including acne and psoriasis. Vitamin A treatment can also smooth wrinkles in skin, helping reverse the aging process. The skin is your first line of defense against disease, and vitamin A promotes the growth of white blood cells that fight off any bacteria that breaches the skin’s barrier.
1 Sharp Vision
Your eyes see by absorbing light, which is sensed by the retina and transmitted to the brain for interpretation. Retinoids are essential to this process, and vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in children who live in developing countries. Doctors prescribe vitamin A to treat dry eye, a corneal condition that can lead to blindness. It may also be beneficial in treating other eye disorders such as cataracts, but studies are inconclusive.