What is Vitamin A Deficiency?
Vitamin A deficiency is an easily-preventable yet common health concern. Its most common symptom is an eye-condition called xerophthalmia, which is the inability to see in low light (or night blindness), and it can cause permanent blindness if it isn’t treated.
Vitamin A plays an important role in maintaining a healthy reproductive system. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to difficulty conceiving and infertility. Long-term vitamin A deficiencies may lead to higher risk of diseases like pneumonia, measles, and anemia. The most severe effects of A deficiency are seen in young children and pregnant women in low-income countries.
Common Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms
- Night blindness
- Ulcers on the cornea of eyes
- Irregular patches on the white of eyes
- Dry skin
- Itchy skin
- Scaly skin
- Respiratory tract infections
What causes a vitamin A deficiency?
- A diet lacking in the following food sources:
- Green-colored vegetables like leafy greens and broccoli
- Orange and yellow vegetables like mangoes and papayas
- Liver, beef, and chicken
- Fortified milk products
- A lack of vitamin A supplementation
Further reading: Cleveland Clinic, Harvard School of Public Health