Diet plays a very important role in our day to day life. More so, during pregnancy it is of utmost importance as it protects both the pregnant mother and her developing baby from immediate and long-term health risks. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin which is stored in the liver and its daily requirements can be easily met from a healthy diet. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and plays a critical role in the following:
Warning signs of a Vitamin A Deficiency
- prevention of anaemia
- building up a strong immune system
- development of heart, lungs, kidney, bones, and eyes of the foetus.
- building a strong resistance power to fight infections by promoting healthy fat metabolism
If one is not getting enough vitamin A, you may experience the following:1.
Frequent and persistent skin infections2
, dry and scaly skin3
. Throat infections or mouth ulcers4.Dandruff
and dry hair5.
Sore eyelids and in extreme cases poor vision in the dark (night blindness)Where to Get Enough Vitamin A From?
There are two types of this nutrient. The first one is called Performed Vitamin A which is also known as retinol and is found in animal products like milk, eggs and liver. These can be used up by the body directly. The other type, Provitamin A or the carotenoids, are found in fruits and vegetables and need to be converted by the body into retinols. Beta-carotene is the most important carotenoid as it converts more efficiently than others. The richest sources of beta-carotene are yellow and orange coloured fruits like mango
, papaya, apricot and vegetables such as carrots, spinach
, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli.(Vitamins for Skin: A Guide to a Healthier, Radiant You)
Vitamin A Deficiency and Pregnancy
In pregnant women, the vitamin A demand is the highest during the last trimester. The deficiency in general can lead to night blindness and poor immunity whereas during pregnancy it can have a detrimental effect on brain development of the foetus. It may also lead to infections, gastroenteritis, delayed growth, and bone development.(Pregnancy Diet: Should You Really Eat For Two?)
How Much Vitamin A Do You Need?
While the carotenoids can be consumed through fruits and vegetables, getting too much Preformed Vitamin A can increase the chances of birth defects in the foetus. Here are the daily requirements as per the National Institute of Nutrition in India:Males
: 900 mcg/day (3000 U/day)Females:
700 mcg/day (2330 U/day)Pregnancy
: more than 18 years: 750-770 mcg/day (2500-2600 U/day)Breastfeeding:
more than 18 years : 1300 mcg RAE (4330 U)(10 Vitamin A Rich Foods: Say Yes to Bright Coloured Veggies)
Most people whose staple diet only consists of rice are at a higher risk of developing a Vitamin A deficiency. It can also occur if the body is unable to make use of the vitamin A in the diet. The most common health concerns that will cause malabsorption of vitamin A include liver cirrhosis, crohn's disease, coeliac disease, gut infection, or else if there is an obstruction of flow of bile from your liver and gall bladder into your gut. Vitamin A deficiency can be prevented with increasing the regular intake of vitamin A-rich foods as long as one does not have any long-term condition preventing your body from using the vitamin A in your diet.Disclaimer:The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.For the latest food news, health tips and recipes, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.