Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vitamin A RDI - what a good diet protects you from.

Continuing on from yesterday's post about vitamin A, today we look at the vitamin A RDI. Lack of vitamin A produces issues with the eye(this link has some rather fascinating/disturbing illustrations). These include:
  • Night blindness (poor adaption to seeing in the dark)
  • Dryness of the eye caused by lack of tears (Conjunctival xerosis)
  • Oval of triangle shaped build up of keratin that are on the outer layer on the eye (Bitot's spot)
  • Roughness of cornea (Corneal xerosis)
  • Ulcers on the cornea (Cornael ulcerations)
  • Corneal scar  which often leads to permanent blindness.
WHO have levels in which these health issues appear in a population to state if that population has issues with vitamin A deficiency.   For example if Bitot's spots are in more that 2% of the population or 0.1% of the population have corneal scaring the whole population has issues with vitamin A deficiency.

You will be pleased to know that your RDI of 750 µg protects you from the above mentioned deficiency diseases. Or to put it another way your plasma levels will remain above 100 micro grams per liter.What do you need to eat to get your daily dose of vitamin A? Leafy green vegetables. For instance this is 5 cups of sprouts or an 1/8 of a cup of broccoli or 1/10th cup of Bok Choy. So when your well meaning nutritionist says you don't need to supplement to live a healthy life. What they are saying is that you can eat enough not to get clinical signs of vitamin A deficiency, which is true.

Is this the optimal amount of vitamin A intake. NO!  

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