Chances are you already know that vitamin A is good for your eye health, but are you aware of all the other ways it can benefit your health? Below, find more reasons to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A.
What is vitamin A?
According to the manager of the Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University Victoria J. Drake, Ph.D., “‘Vitamin A’ is a generic term that refers to fat-soluble compounds found as preformed vitamin A (aka retinol) and as provitamin A carotenoids in fruit and vegetables.”
Once our bodies consume these various compounds, they are capable of converting the compounds into whichever form of vitamin A it needs and can use.
The benefits of vitamin A
Vitamin A supports the integrity of the mucosal epithelium (a protective membrane that lines various organs), which helps the immune system function normally. If you’re not consuming enough vitamin A, then research shows that the mucosal epithelium is weakened, making our respiratory tract, digestive tract, and eyes vulnerable to possible invaders.
Growing up, it’s likely that you were told that carrots are good for eye health—and this is true because carrots are rich in vitamin A. The rod cells found in the retina of our eyes need vitamin A in order to help us see in darker settings, so not consuming enough can contribute to poor eyesight.
Our skin is a fascinating organ—we can see it healing and regenerating itself before our very eyes, and guess which vitamin supports that process? Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is also great for our skin because it acts as an antioxidant, and when the vitamin A derivative retinol is applied topically, it can promote skin cell turnover, evenness, smoothness, and vitality.
Reproduction & growth
Vitamin A in its retinoic acid form plays an important role in both male and female reproductive health, and also contributes to the normal development of embryos.