Vitamin A is a type of vitamin that is useful for maintaining eye health and the immune system. However, if too much vitamin A is consumed, the body will experience excess vitamin A and it can cause side effects that are harmful to the body.
Broadly speaking, vitamins are categorized into two types, namely water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. One of the fat-soluble vitamins is vitamin A.
This makes vitamin A soluble in fat tissue and accumulates in body tissues. If the amount of vitamin A intake is excessive, the buildup of vitamin A can cause a condition called hypervitaminosis A or vitamin A excess.
Vitamin A is contained in various types of vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. In addition to vegetables, vitamin A can also be obtained from fruits, such as mangoes and papayas.
In addition to fruits and vegetables, vitamin A can also be found in meat, beef liver, eggs, and fish and fish oil. Vitamin A can also be found in milk and dairy products, such as cream, butter, cheese, and yogurt.
Risk of Excess Vitamin A
Feeling a lack of vitamin A, many people take additional vitamin A supplements. In fact, the amount of vitamin A intake is sufficient if a person undergoes a healthy and balanced diet.
The use of vitamin A supplements is generally only recommended for use by people who are diagnosed with vitamin A deficiency by a doctor or people who suffer from nutritional deficiencies, such as malnutrition, thus requiring increased intake of vitamin A.
Taking more than the recommended dose of vitamin A can cause vitamin A poisoning. This condition can occur more quickly in infants and children.
When experiencing an excess or poisoning of vitamin A, a person may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:
- Digestive disorders, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Visual disturbance
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Dry, scaly skin that looks orange
In addition, excess vitamin A can also cause a number of complications such as thinning of the bones or becoming more brittle, nerve disorders, and liver damage. If it occurs in pregnant women, excess vitamin A can increase the risk of birth defects in the fetus.
Therefore, the intake of vitamin A needs to be maintained so that it is just right, not lacking but not too much.
Recommended Daily Intake of Vitamin A
Everyone has different needs for vitamin A, depending on their age and health conditions.
Based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia in 2019, the following is the value of the daily vitamin A nutritional adequacy rate (RDA) based on age:
- Children 1–3 years: 400 mcg (micrograms)
- Children ages 4–6 years: 450 mcg
- Children 7–9 years: 500 mcg
- Teenagers: 600 mcg
- Adult men: 600–700 mcg
- Adult women: 600 mcg
- Pregnant and lactating women: 900–950 mcg
Vitamins or supplements are good for health as long as they are consumed in a dosage that suits the body's needs.
If you do not have certain medical conditions and regularly follow a healthy diet, your vitamin A intake may be sufficient. However, if you feel that you are lacking in vitamin A intake and want to use additional supplements to meet your vitamin A intake, you should consult your doctor first.
This is important so that the doctor can advise you to have a healthy diet and choose the type of food to increase your vitamin A intake and prescribe additional vitamin A supplements, if necessary.