Vitamin A deficiency in children
Vitamin A Food Sources
Good food sources of retinoid vitamin A include:
- Whole milk
- 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
- 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
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Pancreatic insufficiency.
- Irritable bowel syndrome.
- In those who have undergone small bowel bypass surgery.
- Zinc deficiency: Zinc helps in absorption of vitamin A.
- Infections like measles.
- Stress due to illness.
- 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.