Vitamin A deficiency may be the cause for recurring gastrointestinal and respiratory issues: 3 ways to get more

Boost your vitamin A with fruits and vegetables and avoid asthma and gastrointestinal issues

A recent study from Colombia on children aged 5-12 yrs, has found that a vitamin A deficiency in the blood, is the cause for recurring gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections. So, boosting your vitamin A will improve your immunity and reduce your chances of developing respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.

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The 2774 children participants of this study, were followed for 1 academic year for incidence of morbidity, including diarrhea with vomiting, cough with fever, earache or ear discharge with fever, and doctor visits. It was observed that a concentration lower than 10 micrograms per 100 milliliters, was associated with increased risk of diarrhea with vomiting and cough with fever.

Vitamin A deficiency has also been associated to respiratory issues like Asthma. This is because vitamin A regulates key developmental processes in multiple organs. In the developing lung, vitamin A is crucial for normal growth and differentiation of airways. Therefore, vitamin A deficiency has been linked to aberrant development of the lung including alterations in the airway smooth muscle (SM) differentiation, development, and function.

How to boost your vitamin A and decrease your chances of gastrointestinal and respiratory issues?

1) Increase your consumption of tropical fruits like acerola, which has been shown to contain 1338 UI per 100 grams of pulp, which corresponds to approximately, 25% of the daily recommendation for this vitamin.

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2) Eat your carrots, raw in salads or cooked: A recent research has concluded that the best method for cooking carrots without loosing too much of its vitamin A, is cooking in water without pressure.

3) Consume supplements that are rich in vitamin A, such as: Moringa plant powder, which has a high vitamin and mineral content, and is also rich in vitamin A.

Older studies found that vitamin A supplementation is beneficial for school - aged children, who were given 200,000 IU of vitamin A, every 4 months. This supplementation eliminated night blindness and prevented the development of new cases of Bitot's spot in a statistically significant number of children, which are other side effects of vitamin A deficiency.

A more recent study in Nepal suggested that there should be a health promotion intervention aiming to increase the intake of relatively cheap vegetables and fruits rich in Vitamin A, and children should be screened for vitamin A levels in order to more accurately treat them.

It is estimated that Vitamin A deficiency affects 190 million preschool-aged children and 10 million pregnant women in low-income countries. But not only that, vitamin A deficiency remains an underlying cause of at least 157,000 early childhood deaths due to diarrhea, measles, malaria, and other infections each year.

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