The deficiency of vitamin A is a common micro nutrient deficiency which refers to the disorder that occurs as a result of low levels of vitamin A that is not enough for the body to use for growth, development and other metabolic or physiological needs.

Retinol and Retinoic acid, which is another name for Vitamin A, is a micro-nutrient that is important for many metabolic and physiological functions such as eye sight, immunity, reproduction and cell division in the body. 

Children, infants, and breastfeeding mothers are at risk of having VAD. It usually affects the eye and  most childhood preventable blindness is caused by a deficiency of vitamin A. Deficiency of vitamin A is of significant public health concern in Nigeria and many other developing countries in the world.

Causes of Retinol and Retinoic acid Deficiency

Inadequate Intake: This is the most common causes of VAD and it is as a result of a poor diet or not taking enough of vitamin A over a long period of time. This type of disorder is common in areas where they suffer malnutrition like in most low income countries.

Fat Mal-absorption: When the body is not capable of absorbing fat then there would be slow absorption of vitamin A because vitamin A is fat soluble.

Liver disorder: Inability for the liver to carry out its normal function of storage and transport of nutrients.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency

  • Dry eyes
  • Dry scaly skin and rash
  • Infertility
  • Vision impairment (night blindness)
  • Stunted growth
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Immune impairment

Diagnosis

  • Ocular findings
  • Serum retinol levels

Treatment  of V.A.D

If you suspect Retinol and Retinoic acid deficiency then you should speak with your doctor for appropriate diagnosis.You can also speak to any of our eDokita board certified Doctors over a phone call or on whatsapp on 09060002544

VAD can be treated based on findings and diagnosis. Your doctor may place you on vitamin A supplements though the dosage and amount of supplements taken would depend on the severity of the deficiency, age and other related factors and You may also be advised to include foods rich in vitamin A in your diet and have an overall balanced diet.

Prevention of Vitamin A Deficiency

Dietary intake

Your diet directly affects your health because a healthy diet will most likely provide for the body’s need for vitamin A. Many foods contain vitamin A and some foods that are good sources of vitamin A and are readily available to us here in Nigeria includes Palm oil, Carrots, Eggs, Tomatoes, Milk, Liver, Spinach, Dairy products, Sweet potatoes, Mangoes, Papaya, Grape fruit and Vegetables.