Recent government surveys have found that most people do not consume enough Vitamin A in their daily diets. This is unfortunate, because Vitamin A is essential to good health. In fact, serious health problems can result from long-term, serious Vitamin A deficiencies.

Vitamin A is important from the very beginning of life. Pregnant women must be sure to consume sufficient amounts of Vitamin A, which will be more than they needed before pregnancy, because Vitamin A plays a great role in the proper physical development of a baby.

It helps to promote proper cell differentiation, which is the specialization of cells upon division to take over certain tasks, meaning that cells for the heart take on their characteristics, those for the liver take on theirs, those for the brain take on their own characteristics and functions, and so on. Vitamin A also serves in bone growth and development, as well as in the general growth and development of the body.

Vitamin A has a significant part in the quality and functioning of the body’s immune system. One facet of this functioning has to do with the skin and body’s mucus membranes. The skin and mucus membranes serve a very practical purpose for the body. These operate as barriers against bacteria and viruses, protecting against infection and disease. Vitamin A helps to keep the skin and mucus membranes healthy and able to serve their primary purpose.

As we’ve all heard through the years, carrots are good for the eyes. That is because they are a good source of Vitamin A, which is essential to vision. In fact, a serious deficiency in Vitamin A can result in blindness. Many children living in poverty in developing nations throughout the world have become blind simply because of the lack of Vitamin A in their diets.

Vitamin A also serves to keep the surface linings of the intestinal, urinary and respiratory tracts healthy. This offers protection from bacteria, as well has promotes proper functioning.

One of the more common units of measure for Vitamin A found on packaging labels of food and dietary supplements is the International Unit, or IU. Adult and teenaged males should be sure to consume at total of 3,000 IU of Vitamin A per day. Adult women and teenaged females should have 2,310 IU per day, 2,565 IU per day if pregnant and 4,300 IU per day if breastfeeding. For children ages 9 through 13, 2,000 IU is the recommended daily intake, with 1,320 IU being sufficient for those aged 4 through 8. From the first year through age 3, 1,000 IU is recommended.

Using dietary supplements to complete a healthy diet can ensure that the body receives the nutrients it needs for optimum performance. However, it is important to heed label and doctor recommendations for the best amount to be taken for your dietary needs.

Proper nutrition is essential to achieving and maintaining health. It is much better to avoid sickness than to recover from it. Taking steps to ensure that you are getting enough Vitamin A each day is an essential part of reaching your health goals.

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