Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for many bodily functions, including proper vision, a strong immune system, reproduction and good skin health.There are two types of vitamin A found in foods: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A (1).Preformed vitamin A is also known as retinol and commonly found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.On the other hand, the body converts carotenoids in plant foods, such as red, green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, into provitamin A (2).While deficiency is rare in developed countries, many people in developing countries do not get enough vitamin A.
Those at highest risk of deficiency are pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, infants and children. Cystic fibrosis and chronic diarrhea may also increase your risk of deficiency.Here are 8 signs and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency.
1. Dry Skin
Vitamin A is important for the creation and repair of skin cells. It also helps fight inflammation due to certain skin issues (3).
Not getting enough vitamin A may be to blame for the development of eczema and other skin problems (4).
Eczema is a condition that causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin. Several clinical studies have shown the vitamin A supplement alitretinoin to be effective at treating eczema (3, 5, 6).
In one 12-week study, people with chronic eczema who took 10–40 mg of alitretinoin per day experienced up to a 53% reduction in their symptoms (6).
Keep in mind that dry skin can have many causes, but chronic vitamin A deficiency may be the reason.