Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is crucial for various bodily functions. There are two forms of vitamin A found in the diet: retinoids (preformed vitamin A) and carotenoids (provitamin A). Retinoids are found in animal sources such as liver, eggs, and dairy products, while carotenoids are found in plant sources such as carrots, pumpkin,apricot, sweet potatoes, spinach, and kale. The body can convert carotenoids into retinoids as needed.

When someone doesn’t consume enough vitamin A-rich foods, or when their body has difficulty absorbing or converting vitamin A, deficiency can occur. This is particularly common in developing countries where access to a diverse diet may be limited.

Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency

Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency can manifest gradually and may vary in severity. Some of the key symptoms include:

Night blindness or Nyctalopia or Hemaralopia:

Vitamin A is essential for the production of rhodopsin, a pigment in the eyes that helps with vision in dark adaption depends which is measured by adaptometer. A deficiency can lead to difficulty seeing in dim light or at night. Night blindless is also seen in cases of retinitis pigmentosa, congenital absence of rods, syphilitic retinitis , hysteria, fatigue and anxiety states. So therapeutic test is very important for a frim diagnosis of night blindness resulting from Vitamin A deficiency. In vision the initial part of photoreceptor complex in Rods and Cones is 11-cis retinaldehyde.

Dry eyes (Xerosis):

Insufficient vitamin A can affect the production of tears, leading to dryness, irritation, and discomfort in the eyes. Bitot’s spots, xerophthalmia, keratomalcia : The epithelia on the conjuctivae undergo squamous metaplasia and become dry , thickened and pigmented. This is first seen in the bulbar conjunctivae which assume a smoky appearnace. Gradually as the conjunctival cells are thickened, desquamated and heaped up together. In course of time the corneal cells will also undergo keratinisation and due to blocking of the tear gland ducts with horney keratin the conjunctivae and corneas becomes soft, ulcerrated and recrosed when a grave condition called Keratomalacia may be produced which is responsible for permanent blindness or even death. This condition is commonly seen in children.

It is not only dries the eyes but also the skin, vitamin A plays a role in maintaining healthy skin by regulating cell production and turnover. A deficiency can result in rough, dry, or flaky skin.

Poor wound healing:

Vitamin A is important for the formation of new tissue and blood vessels, so inadequate levels can impair the body’s ability to heal wounds efficiently.

Increased susceptibility to infections:

Vitamin A is crucial for the proper functioning of the immune system. A deficiency can weaken immune responses, making individuals more vulnerable to infections, particularly respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Recurrent respiratory infection due to loss of epithelial integrity of the respiratory tract may also be present.

In severe cases:

In severe or prolonged cases of vitamin A deficiency, more serious complications can occur, such as corneal ulcers, which can lead to permanent vision loss, and even complete blindness. In children, severe deficiency can result in stunted growth, increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, and higher mortality rates.

If you follow the above mentioned symptoms, you will discuss with a good physician.


  1. Dark adaption is impaired which is strongly suggestive of vitamin A deficiency.
  2. A serum level at or below 20mg/100 cc of Vitamin A may be seen normal level (30-60mgm/dl)
  3. Therapeutic test is also important.

Preventing vitamin A deficiency

Preventing vitamin A deficiency involves consuming a balanced diet that includes plenty of vitamin A-rich foods. For individuals at higher risk, such as pregnant women or those with certain medical conditions, supplementation may be recommended under medical supervision. However, excessive intake of vitamin A supplements can be toxic, so it’s important to follow dosage recommendations carefully.

Promoting a Balanced Diet:

Encouraging the consumption of vitamin A-rich foods as part of a balanced diet is crucial. These foods include fruits, vegetables, dairy products, eggs, and liver. Educating communities, especially in areas where deficiency is prevalent, about the importance of including these foods in their meals can help prevent deficiency.

Diversifying Food Sources:

In regions where access to a variety of foods is limited, efforts should be made to diversify food sources of vitamin A. This could involve promoting the cultivation and consumption of locally available fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A, as well as providing education on food preparation techniques that preserve the nutrient content of these foods.

Supplementation Programs:

In populations at high risk of deficiency, such as pregnant women, infants, and young children, vitamin A supplementation programs can be implemented. These programs often target specific groups identified as vulnerable to deficiency and provide supplements in the form of capsules or fortified foods. It’s important for these programs to be implemented alongside education on the importance of supplementation and potential risks of excessive intake.

Fortification of Staple Foods:

Fortifying commonly consumed staple foods with vitamin A can be an effective strategy to reach large segments of the population and prevent deficiency. Fortification involves adding vitamin A to foods such as flour, cooking oil, sugar, or salt during processing. This approach has been successful in various countries and can significantly improve vitamin A status at the population level.

Health Education:

Educating communities about the importance of vitamin A for overall health and well-being, as well as the signs and symptoms of deficiency, can empower individuals to make informed dietary choices. Health education efforts can be conducted through community workshops, school programs, and outreach activities led by healthcare providers or community health workers.

Improving Access to Healthcare:

Ensuring access to healthcare services, including prenatal care and regular check-ups for children, can help detect and address vitamin A deficiency early on. Healthcare providers can provide guidance on dietary practices, supplementation, and other preventive measures tailored to individual needs.

By implementing these preventive measures, communities and healthcare systems can work together to reduce the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency and improve the overall health and well-being of populations at risk.

Hypervitaminosis A

Long continued excessive intake of vitamin A resulting in this disorders. That time we find anorexia, witherd tendency, gingivitis, cheilosis, dryness and crackfull skin, hair fall, rough and brittle nails, calcium level increased, peristeal hyperostosis, (Caffey’s syndrom) bone absorption and elevation, calcinosis, hypoprothrombinaemia, bleeding, anemia, hepatospenomegaly, cirrhosis and neurological manifestation. Acute toxicity will produce nausea, vomiting, headache like migraine pain, increased intracranial tension and desquamation of skin.

When we seen the above mention symptoms, if we do test blood we will seen serum vitamin A level is above 400mg/100cc. At that time we will immediately stoppage of vitamin A and consult with a good doctor without delay.

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about vitamin A deficiency:

Who is at risk of vitamin A deficiency?

Certain population groups are at higher risk of vitamin A deficiency, including pregnant women, infants, young children, individuals living in regions with limited access to diverse foods, and those with certain medical conditions that affect nutrient absorption.

How is vitamin A deficiency treated?

Treatment of vitamin A deficiency typically involves increasing dietary intake of vitamin A-rich foods and, in some cases, supplementation with vitamin A supplements under medical supervision. Severe cases may require additional medical intervention and management of complications.

What are the 5 major functions of vitamin A?

Supporting vision, particularly in low-light conditions.
Promoting healthy growth and development, especially in children.
Maintaining a strong immune system to fight infections.
Ensuring proper functioning of organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Supporting reproductive health and fertility in both males and females.

What are 3 fruits rich in vitamin A?

Three fruits rich in vitamin A include:
Cantaloupes (also known as muskmelons)

Which vitamin is good for skin?

Vitamin E is good for the skin. It acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect skin cells from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, it supports skin repair and helps maintain skin elasticity.


Vitamin A deficiency is a serious health concern that can have significant consequences if left untreated. Awareness of the importance of vitamin A in the diet and access to nutrient-rich foods are essential for preventing deficiency and promoting overall health and well-being.

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