Daily Health Tips
Vitamin A the Forgotten Vitamin
The vitamin of the day is vitamin A. Known as anti-ophthalmic, vitamin A is essential for growth and vitality. It builds up resistance to respiratory and other infections and works mainly on the eyes, lungs, stomach and intestines. It prevents eye diseases and plays a vital role in nourishing the skin and hair. It helps to prevent premature ageing and senility, increases life expectancy and extends youthfulness. The main sources of this vitamin are fish liver oil, liver, whole milk, curds, pure ghee, butter, cheese, cream and egg yolk, green leafy and certain yellow root vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, turnip, beets, carrot, cabbage and tomato and ripe fruits such as prunes, mangoes, papayas, apricots, peaches, almonds and other dry fruits. A prolonged deficiency of vitamin A may result in inflammation of the eyes, poor vision frequent colds, night blindness and increased susceptibility to infections, lack of appetite and vigour, defective teeth and gums and skin disorders. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin A is 5,000 international units for adults and 2,600 to 4,000 international units for children. When taken in large therapeutic doses, which are usually 25,000 to 50,000 units a day, it is highly beneficial in the treatment of head and chest colds, sinus trouble, influenza and other infectious diseases. It is also valuable in curing night blindness and other eye diseases as well as many stubborn skin disorders. This vitamin can be given upto 1,00,000 units a day for a limited period of four weeks under doctor's supervision. In a recent year-long study, huge doses of vitamin A given twice a year reduced death by about 30 per cent among Indonesian children. This has raised the hope in the fight against a significant cause of childhood mortality in developing countries.