Vitamin A deficiency can become a serious health issue, but like many of the vitamin-related deficiencies, it can be treated and effectively managed, if diagnosed early.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble micronutrient, essential for your physiological functions and overall wellbeing.

It is an important nutrient which helps maintain your vision, skin, bones, teeth and immune system. It also plays a vital role in your cell growth and reproduction.

Vitamin A is particularly necessary for maintaining your eye-health and healthy skin, as well as fighting off your infections. It also helps your bodily organs to work properly including your lung, heart and eyes.

Your body can’t make vitamin A on its own, so it has to get it from your diet.

There are two sources for vitamin A: Preformed vitamin A and Provitamin A carotenoids.

Preformed vitamin A is found in animal and dairy products, fish, eggs, fortified foods and vitamin supplements.

Some provitamin A carotenoids naturally found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products are converted into Vitamin A by your body.

When your dietary consumption of vitamin A is less than adequate or required quantity, you may run the risk of vitamin A deficiency.

According to WHO, vitamin A deficiency is considered a public health problem, especially in developing countries.

One of the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness. In some cases, it may progress into total blindness by damaging your cornea and retina. Vitamin A deficiency is a primary reason for blindness in children around the world, especially in developing countries.

You may be affected with vitamin A deficiency, if you’re suffering from liver diseases like cirrhosis. Also medical conditions like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease can affect your vitamin A absorption into your body.

Vitamin A deficiency can lower your immunity to fight your infections, affect your pregnancy and lactation or even lead to pregnancy-related death.

Are You at Risk of Vitamin A Deficiency

You may be at risk of vitamin A deficiency, if you’re suffering from gastrointestinal diseases that disturb the absorption of vitamin A into your body. These diseases include:


Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency can range between moderate and severe depending on people or their underlying medical conditions.

Let’s see some of the symptoms that you may be experiencing:

  • Night blindness (nyctalopia): It’s one of the first symptoms of your vitamin A deficiency. Symptom includes trouble seeing in the dark, but normal unimpaired vision under a good light source. In some cases, it can lead to total blindness by damaging your cornea and retina.
  • Xerophthalmia: It makes your eyes extremely dry, preventing your eyes from producing tears. This may lead to damage of your cornea and retina. Xerophthalmia is a major cause of both avoidable blindness and childhood blindness.
  • Keratomalacia: An eye condition in which ocular changes occur due to severe vitamin A deficiency. It happens as a result of dryness of your corneas.
  • Lower immunity: Vitamin A deficiency can lower your innate immunity, the biological immune system you were born with and expose you to infections frequently.
  • Skin problems: Vitamin A deficiency can cause skin inflammation as a result of itchy, dry skin.
  • Infertility: Symptoms of infertility manifest in the form of a difficulty conceiving a child. This is due to vitamin A deficiency, affecting your reproductive system.
  • Impaired growth and development in children: Vitamin A deficiency can contribute to stunted growth or slow bone growth in children.
  • Bitot spots: It is a condition that leads to the buildup of keratin in your eyes, contributing to your hazy vision.

Diagnosis of Vitamin A Deficiency

Based on your symptoms and medical history, your Doctor will perform the following tests to determine if you have vitamin A deficiency.

  • Vitamin A blood test: It measure the levels of vitamin A in your blood.
  • Electroretinography: This test evaluates the function of your retinal tissue (eye’s light-sensitive cells in your retinas).


Your Doctor may begin treating you for vitamin A deficiency by way of putting you on a higher dose vitamin A supplements, until your symptoms disappear.

He may also recommend foods rich in vitamin A for you. Let’s see some of the foods that contain vitamin A in good measure.

  • Yellow and orange vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, squash and red peppers.
  • Orange and yellow fruits such as melons, oranges, mangos, apricots, cantaloupe and papayas.
  • Green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, broccoli and turnip greens.
  • Dairy products such as milk and cheddar cheese.
  • Animal sources such as chicken, beef, eggs and liver.
  • Fish such as salmon and shellfish.
  • Foods fortified with vitamin A such as cereals, wheat and soybeans.

Your Recommended Intake of Vitamin A

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin A for different age groups are:

  • Children 1-3 years – 400 mcg
  • Children 4-6 years – 500 mcg
  • Children 7-10 years – 700 mcg
  • Men older than 10 years – 1000 mcg
  • Women older than 10 years – 800 mcg


Vitamin A deficiency can affect your vision and lower your immunity against infections, apart from skin problems and infertility.

Children, especially those living in developing countries, are prone to vitamin A deficiency.

An early diagnosis and treatment is the key to prevent irreversible or permanent damage to your eyes and increase your immunity against infections.

It is also very important to get this micronutrient in adequate measure to keep your eyes healthy as well as your overall wellbeing.


If you have a question related to this blog post, write to us here and we will update this post with a response.

Sources: MSD Manuals, WebMD, Cleveland Clinic, National Library of Medicine, Medical News Today, Healthdirect Australia, Medscape and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to write to us at support@nugenomics.in or call us directly at +91 9176655912

You can also visit Here to know more about how we can help you and make your life better.