Vitamin A deficiency: Signs, symptoms and foods you must eat

Vitamins are essential nutrients that keep our body healthy by promoting healthy growth and functioning of our cells. Most vitamins are water soluble and hence, gets flushed out of our body which makes it necessary to include these vitamins in our daily diet. Vitamin A is one such essential vitamin that needs to be consumed everyday to avoid creating its deficiency. Let’s take a look at what vitamin A deficiency can do to our health and what are the foods to avoid it.

Dr Dimple Jangda, an Ayurveda and gut health coach, shared an Instagram reel where she talks about the symptoms of vitamin A deficiency and the foods one can consume to fulfill the vitamin A requirements. Let’s take a look at them.

Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A is important for the healthy functioning of our eyes, the immune system, the reproductive system and cellular communication.

1. Eyesight: Vision related problems are a common symptom of vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficient people might observe their eyes becoming very dry at first. This may damage the cornea and retina. Night blindness is also caused due to vitamin A deficiency.

2. Frequent infections: Vitamin A plays a very important role in immune function. A person with a vitamin A deficiency is more likely to experience frequent infections, as they cannot fight off these infections as easily as a healthy person could.

3. Skin issues: People with vitamin A deficiency can also notice problems with their skin. Their skin can get dry or experience itching, and scaling. Some may experience similar issues with their hair and scalp as well.

skin issues
Vitamin A deficiency can cause major issues for your skin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Fertility issues: Vitamin A plays a role in reproduction and its deficiency may cause infertility and difficulty in conceiving a child.

5. Stunted growth: Vitamin A plays a part in growth and production of healthy cells. Not having enough of this vitamin may delay growth or cause children to experience stunted growth or slow bone growth.

Deficiency may occur in people who have underlying issues that interfere with the body’s ability to use vitamin A, such as those with:

* Cystic fibrosis
* Chronic diarrhea
* Celiac disease
* Duodenal bypass
* Bile duct obstruction
* Cirrhosis

Foods to include in your daily diet to fight off vitamin A deficiency:

1. Green vegetables

Green vegetables such as leafy greens like kale and spinach or broccoli and bell peppers are a very rich source of vitamin A. You can eat them in salads, make a dish out of them or just saute them.

Leafy greens for vitamin A
No more vitamin A deficiency with this bowl of greens! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Red, orange and yellow vegetables

Foods such as tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and squash have a nutrient named beta-carotene, which is responsible for the red or orange color of these vegetables, and is a precursor of vitamin A. It is a known fact that carrots are great for our vision which is a symptom of vitamin A deficiency.

3. Orange and yellow fruits

Fruits are extremely healthy with good water content, vitamins and minerals. Fruits like oranges, mangoes, cantaloupe, papayas and dried apricots are a rich source of vitamin A and should be included in your diet.

yellow fruits for vitamin A
Yellow fruits are a rich source of vitamin A! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Dairy products

Dairy products such as milk and eggs can also help fight off vitamin A deficiency. But make sure the dairy products are sourced from a cruelty free cow farm only, to avoid risk of catching any diseases.

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