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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Children's Health Vitamin A deficiency in children

Vitamin A deficiency in children

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Vitamin A (retinol) is an important fat soluble vitamin for good vision, healthy immune system and cell growth. Eggs, milk, liver, cereals are the foods rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness.

Vitamin A deficiency in children

Vitamin A Food Sources

Good food sources of retinoid vitamin A include:

  • Eggs
  • Whole milk
  • Liver
  • Fortified skim milk and cereals
  • Plant sources of vitamin A (from beta-carotene) include carrots, spinach, and apricots.

Signs and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include

  • Bitot spots: They are the areas of abnormal cell proliferation seen in conjunctiva.
  • Blindness due to retinal injury.
  • Poor adaptation to darkness (nyctalopia)
  • Dry skin
  • Dry hair
  • Pruritus: Itching of skin.
  • Broken fingernails
  • Keratomalacia
  • Xerophthalmia (dry eyes).
  • Corneal perforation.
  • Follicular hyperkeratosis (phrynoderma) secondary to blockage of hair follicles with plugs of keratin.
  • Other signs of VAD include excessive deposition of periosteal bone secondary to reduced orthoclastic activity, anemia, keratinization of mucous membranes, and impairment of the humoral and cell-mediated immune system.

Causes of vitamin A deficiency

Treatment

  • Vitamin A supplements are given orally.
  • Fortification of milk with vitamin A to prevent deficiency. A variety of foods, such as breakfast cereals, pastries, breads, crackers, and cereal grain bars, are often fortified with 10-15% of the RDA of vitamin A.
  • Consumption of vitamin A rich foods like liver, beef, chicken, eggs, whole milk, fortified milk, carrots, mango, orange, spinach, sweet potatoes and other green vegetables. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.