7 Benefits of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential to your health and well-being. Without it, your body would have a hard time fighting off infection and your vision would be impaired. Vitamin A plays an important role in so many body functions. It’s important to maintain healthy levels of this vitamin through your diet or supplements. Here are 7 of the many benefits of vitamin A.
1. Fights Free Radicals
Some forms of vitamin A have antioxidant properties and fight against free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells and have been linked to many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia.
Studies have shown that diets rich in carotenoids (a type of vitamin A) are linked to lower risks of disease.
2. Helps Prevent Macular Degeneration
Vitamin A is crucial to eye health. In fact, healthy vision is one of the most well-known vitamin A benefits. Healthy levels of vitamin A help reduce the risk of some eye diseases, including macular degeneration.
Research shows that higher blood levels of vitamin A can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by 25%. It’s the antioxidant effects of the vitamin that reduce the risk of this disease.
3. May Protect Against Some Cancers
Vitamin A’s ability to fight free radicals may also help protect against cancer. Test-tube studies have found that retinoids (a type of vitamin A) may prevent the growth of some cancer cells.
Another study found that smokers with high blood levels of vitamin A had a lower risk of dying compared to non-smokers with low vitamin A.
Observational studies have found that high amounts of beta-carotene (a type of vitamin A) may decrease the risk of certain cancers, including lung, cervical and bladder cancer.
The relationship between vitamin A and cancer growth is still not understood. More research is needed to determine how this vitamin impacts tumor growth.
4. Boosts the Immune System
Vitamin A is one of the many vitamins that boost immune system health by triggering the responses that protect the body from illness. It’s needed to create B- and T-cells, both of which play an important role in your immune response.
Low levels of vitamin A can increase the risk of infection. Deficiencies have been linked to higher levels of pro-inflammatory molecules that hinder immune function.
5. Promotes Healthy Bones
Vitamin D and calcium are stars of the show when it comes to bone health. But vitamin A is also needed to maintain healthy and strong bones. Low levels of vitamin A have been associated with poor bone health.
Studies have found that people with low blood levels of vitamin A have a higher risk of bone fractures than those with healthy vitamin A levels. Other research shows that people with high levels of vitamin A had a 6% lower risk of bone fractures.
6. Healthy Skin and Hair
Vitamin A plays an important role in skin and hair health. It’s needed to produce sebum, the natural oil that moisturizes your skin and hair.
Retinol increases the production of new skin cells. When levels are too low, it can cause dry skin. Retinoids are recommended for the treatment of acne. Studies show that retinol also plays a role in collagen production and can reduce wrinkles.
When vitamin A levels are too low, it increases the risk of acne flareups. This is because it’s harder for the body to remove dead skin from hair follicles. Follicles become clogged, and acne breakouts occur.
Carotenoids are rich in antioxidants. Studies show that a diet rich in carotenoids can prevent premature aging and cell damage.
Vitamin A can help prevent vision problems, keep your immune system healthy, protect your bones, and contribute to your overall health. Eating a balanced diet and supplements can help you maintain healthy vitamin A levels.
7. Protects Your Eye Health
Vitamin A is crucial to protecting your eyesight. Without vitamin A, your eyes have a harder time converting light into electrical signals sent to your brain.
One of the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness. Those with low vitamin A can still see normally during the day, but they have a hard time seeing at night.
Vitamin A can also help slow the progression of age-related vision problems. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the top cause of vision loss in developed countries. Researchers still don’t know the exact cause of AMD, but they believe it may have something to do with the cellular damage in the retina. Vitamin A’s antioxidant properties can help prevent this damage.
Studies show that antioxidant supplements, like vitamin A, can reduce the risk of advanced AMD by 25%.
The body needs vitamin A to perform a number of functions. A deficiency can impact your eyesight, bone health, immune system function, and ability to fight free radicals. Supplements and a balanced diet can help you maintain healthy levels of vitamin A.