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Retinol & Diseases

Retinol & Diseases Retinol & Diseases


Vitamins are vital organic substances needed in small quantities for various metabolic functions. The body cannot manufacture most vitamins, therefore, you must obtain them through your diet. Vitamins are categorized as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin stored in body tissues. In general, vitamins function as control agents in cell metabolism and as components of tissue construction. Vitamin A, also known as retinol, occurs in two forms: retinol and carotene, or provitamin A.

Function of Retinol

Retinol plays a role in vision, tissue strength, and growth. It is a key component of rhodopsin, a pigment in the eye that allows the eye to adjust to different amounts of light. Retinol maintains epithelial tissue, which is the protective tissue of the body such as skin and the membranes lining the gastrointestinal tract, eyes, nose, and throat. In addition, retinol has a role in protein synthesis, which is essential to the growth and development of skeletal and soft tissues.

Recommended Daily Intake and Food Sources

The recommended daily intake for retinol in healthy adult males over the age of 19 is 900 micrograms and 700 micrograms for females of the same classification. Green leafy vegetables, yellow fruits and vegetables, fish liver oils, liver, butter, cream and egg yolks are good natural sources of vitamin A. Low-fat milk and non-fat milk are fortified with vitamin A.

Deficiency Diseases

Inadequate intake of retinol leads to xerosis, a condition characterized by itching, burning, and red inflamed lids. Severe deficiencies cause xerophthalmia, which is complete blindness. Less severe deficiencies cause night blindness, slow adaptation to darkness, and glare blindness. Signs of retinol deficiency include anorexia, retarded growth, enlarged hair follicles of the skin, increased susceptibility to infection, and keratinization of epithelial cells.

Toxicity Diseases

Excessive retinol intake causes hypervitaminosis A. This condition is characterized by joint pain, thickening of the long bones, hair loss and jaundice. High intake may also damage the liver by causing portal hypertension, which increases the pressure in the circulating blood to the liver. Ascites, or fluid accumulating in the abdominal cavity, may result in excess intake of retinol.

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