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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Vitamin A Deficiency – Symptoms and Treatment

Are you suffering from Vitamin A deficiency treatment? Have you checked the signs? Vitamin A is one of the most vital vitamins that serve a variety of physiological functions including reproduction, growth, role in vision maintenance of epithelial tissue and bone structures.

What is Vitamin A Deficiency?

Vitamin A deficiency is a lack of vitamin A in blood and tissues. It occurs due to insufficient intake of Vitamin A from food sources or by vitamin malabsorption, transport, or metabolism problems. It has numerous clinical manifestations, ranging from xerophthalmia, night blindness, disturbances in growth and susceptibility to severe infection. Some Vitamin A related deficiency disorders are listed below:

1.   Anaemia

Blood types

Different types of blood groups, Credits: pixabay

It is known to cause Anemia through modification of hematopoiesis, and iron metabolism. It’s lack also worsens the normal functioning of the immune system, which makes us prone to various infections along with mobilization of iron stores from the tissues.

2.   Autism


Autistic child looking up, Credits: pixabay

Neurodevelopment in children is adversely impacted by vitamin A deficiency. Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) which are a set of neurological diseases are manifested due to Vitamin D deficiency during the gestation period. However, it can be improved by vitamin A supplementation during the early‐life period of the baby.

3.   Xerophthalmia

Dry eyes

Woman suffering from Dry eyes, Credits: pixabay

Vitamin A deficiency causes xerophthalmia which is one of the leading causes of blindness in children. The other forms of Xerophthalmia like night blindness and Bitot‘s spots are found to be more prevalent in pregnant women and children.

4.   Night blindness

Night blindness is an ophthalmic manifestation of Vitamin A Deficiency. It is associated with limited restoration of Rhodopsin – a pigment that converts light into an electrical signal. Night blindness may prevent the person from finding their way around at dawn or dusk.

5.   Conjunctival xerosis and Bitot‘s spots

Woman taking medication for conjunctival xerosis

Woman taking medication for conjunctival xerosis, Credits: pixabay

It occurs when vitamin A deficiency interferes with the differentiation of mucus-secreting epithelium lining. This causes the conjunctival surface to become dry, non- wettable and keratinized.

Bitot‘s spots-  It appears as a patch of xerosis which is usually foamy or cheesy, and whitish in nature. This spot hinders the vision at a particular point.

6.   Corneal Xerosis

Corneal xerosis

Corneal xerosis is lack of clarity in the cornea, Credits: pixabay

It is a condition where the cornea loses its typical sheen and clarity and requires immediate treatment with Vitamin A.

7.   Xerophthalmic Fundus

Xeropthalamic Fundus

Xeropthalamic Fundus, Credits: pixabay

It occurs due to prolonged Vitamin A deficiency and characterized by numerous small, white retinal dots which might cause alterations in the retinal area. It is also linked to unusual eating habits like being obsessed with a particular food, anorexia nervosa, cessation of growth and disorders as retinopathy.

Treatment Of Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency treatment can be averted by vitamin A supplementation, proper nutrition and the inclusion of vitamin A-rich foods. Whereas, Vitamin A status can be improved by supplementation and food fortification.

1.   Vitamin A supplementation

Vitamin A Supplements

Vitamin A Supplements, Credits: pixabay

Vitamin A deficiency diseases are common in children and women of reproductive age.

  1. Small children who are adversely affected by high blood pressure on the brain side are recommended to 25000 IU’s of Vitamin A.

  2. Vitamin A if taken in the form of fats and oil or in injection form should be consumed or injected orally via the mouth.

  3. Females in the reproductive age should be given 1500-10,000 IU’s of Vitamin A, as high doses of it may cause fatal effects on the fetus.

2.   Vitamin A Fortification

Food fortification

Food fortification, Credits: pixabay

Just like iodine is incorporated in table salt,  Vitamin A can also be fortified in a variety of ways. It can be either incorporated to wheat, sugar or in animal milk mostly cow‘s milk.  All can serve as a good vehicle to carry vitamin A and help prevent adverse health effects.

3.   Vitamin A-rich foods

Vitamin A rich foods

Vitamin A rich foods, Credits: pixabay

Vitamin A deficiency can be addressed by consuming foods that are rich in vitamin A  which include liver,  oily fish, fortified milk, beef, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, chicken, eggs,  and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin A deficiency diseases have become an endemic nutrition problem which especially affects the health and survival of infants, young children, and pregnant and lactating women around the world. The condition seems to be worse in poorer states, where a woman can’t afford foods that are rich in Vitamin A.

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