We Need Your Urgent Help To Sustain This Website And All Our Research And Community Initiatives. Please Help By Donating To Our Cause. Go To The Sponsorship Section.
Vitamin A deficiency is a major health problem that affects around one third of children aged under five years. Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness in about 250,000–500,000 children from developing countries every year and the highest prevalence is in Southeast Asia and Africa. According to the Global Alliance for Vitamin A, several strategies should be encouraged to help manage this problem and some of these are described below.
Vitamin A deficiency can be either primary or secondary. Primary deficiency is seen in children and adults who do not consume enough foods rich in Vitamin A such as yellow/orange fruits and vegetables (mangoes, pumpkin) or animal sources such as liver. Babies who are weaned off breast milk too early are also at an increased risk of Vitamin A deficiency.
Secondary vitamin A deficiency occurs as a result of gastrointestinal abnormalities that lead to poor absorption of the vitamin available in food. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin meaning it is absorbed after it has dissolved in fats. A low-fat diet can therefore hinder the adequate absorption and use of vitamin A. Zinc deficiency may also disrupt the absorption and transport of vitamin A. Other factors related to secondary vitamin A deficiency include the abnormal production and release of bile, chronic exposure to cigarette smoke and chronic alcoholism.
Vitamin A deficiency leads to some of the following symptoms