The first sign of vitamin A deficiency

The first sign of vitamin A deficiency

Today we’re going to talk about the first sign of vitamin A deficiency: nyctalopia. Nyctalopia is night blindness.

The active form of vitamin A is called retinol. Retinol is needed for peripheral vision and to see in dim light.

Beta-carotene is the precursor to retinol—it needs to convert into retinol to become active.

Thinking that you’re getting enough of the active form of vitamin A because you’re consuming beta-carotene can cause you to become vitamin A deficient.

It’s important to consume the active form of vitamin A to support your eyes and your overall health.

The first sign of vitamin A deficiency

What do you think the first sign of a vitamin a deficiency would manifest as in your body ?

Now if you guessed nictalopia , you are correct .

What is nyctalopia?

What is nyctalopia?

Now what is this nictalopia ?

I mean , it’s kinda funny sometimes when people give you these words that you might not understand , then you tell them , like , what does that mean ?

They might slow it down like , nictalopia .

I’m like , that doesn’t help me .

I need to know what the heck it means .

So you have to get a dictionary out and look up the word .

But nictalopia basically is night blindness

You can’t see in the dark too well .

So whether you’re driving home , in the dark and you’re having a hard time seeing the road , or it’s raining out and it’s dark and you really can’t see the road , or even if you’re in your house , your office reading a book , and there’s not good lighting .

You may think you need glasses when in fact , you might need vitamin a .

Do screens affect your eyes?


Now I will say that if you spend any amount of time reading your phone , looking at your computer screen like I do many , many hours a day , what’s gonna happen is the muscles in the eye go into a spasm , okay , and they stay in this little spasm , which then will affect your ability to see .

Then you go to the eye doctor and you’d be fitted for something like this , which is interesting because I when I went there , I asked the , ophthalmologist .

I said , why do we need glasses ?

Is it a genetic problem ?

And he goes , yeah .

It’s a genetic problem .

I said , that doesn’t make sense to me .

And then I asked him , I said , looking at a computer screen or reading a book long periods of time , doesn’t that affect the vision ?

He says , well , I can’t disagree with you .

That probably does .

But , honestly , these eye doctors probably are not taught a lot of preventative type things to prevent , you from developing the spasm in your eye .


What I would highly recommend , and I put this in a video , is to get outside every single day to try to counter this spasm going on the eye by looking in the distance , looking at trees , looking at things , and focusing in on purpose various things in your environment for at least an hour a day .

That would be very therapeutic .

And the chances of you needing glasses would be greatly lessened .

In fact , if you have glasses , you’ll probably improve your eyes over time if you did that .

Understanding vitamin A

But if you have difficulty seeing in dim lighting or at night while you’re driving , suspect a vitamin a deficiency .

Now there’s some interesting things about vitamin a .

The active form of vitamin a is called retinol .

So why did they come up this name , retinol for vitamin a ?

Could it be that it has something to do with the retina , which is the back part of the eye ?

It’s an extension of your brain that allows you to see .video content Image generated by Wilowrid

So vitamin a retinol , the active form , not beta carotene , which is the precursor that has to convert into retinol .

Retinol is needed to help you create this little protein in your eye that converts light to electrical signals , and that’s called visual purple or rhodopsin .

So vitamin a is needed to form this pigment for these little things in your eyes that are called rods .

Okay ?

And these little rods help you see in the peripheral area of your vision as well as low illuminated areas .

Right ?

Now I wanna touch on this precursor , beta carotene , that converts into retinol .

It amazes me that they actually I think they changed the definition , I don’t know how long ago , that beta carotene , the precursor , is vitamin a .

Well , it’s not the active form of vitamin a .

spasm spasm

It’s the precursor , and it has to be converted into retinol .

Let’s just kind of compare , the amount of retinol that’s in 3 ounces of beef liver because beef liver is very , very high in retinol .

3 ounces .

How much beta carotene and carrots would you need to have the same retinol , okay , as in 3 ounces of beef liver ?

You would need £40 of raw carrots .

That would be very difficult to consume .

I mean , I can see , like , £20 , but £40 of carrots , it’s not gonna happen .

Alright .

How much kale would you need to equal the amount of retinol and just 3 ounces of beef liver ?

Well , you need 454 cups of raw kale to equal the retinol and only 3 ounces of beef liver .

Incredible .

It’s probably not gonna happen .

So if you’re doing 3 or 4 or 5 cups of kale in your salad , whatever , and you think you’re getting enough true vitamin a , chances are you’re not .

Foods high in vitamin A

What type of foods are high in vitamin a ?

Of course , grass fed beef liver , okay , egg yolks , cod liver oil .

Now fish oil has the omega 3 fatty acids , but not the vitamin a like cod liver .

Cod liver oil has omega 3 fatty acids as well as vitamin d and vitamin a .

Raw cheese has a good amount of vitamin a .

Raw cream and raw butter has a good amount of retinol .

But pasteurization destroys vitamin a

 vitamin a

So if you’re getting pasteurized milk or pasteurized cheese , which is the majority of cheese , or pasteurized butter , or even if you’re eating a lot of overly cooked , carrots or cooked vegetables that has the precursor , you’re not gonna get a lot of vitamin a .

Now if you’re doing cheese , try to get raw milk cheese .

If you can get sheep cheese , you’ll get a lot more vitamin a .

In fact , there’s another animal milk that you can get to get a good amount of vitamin a , and that is actually rat milk .

Foods rich in vitamin A (retinol):

  • • Cod liver oil
  • • Grass-fed liver
  • • Raw cheese
  • • Butter (raw)
  • • Cream (raw)
  • • Egg yolk

Vitamin A functions

So if you run out of sheep cheese milk , you always have a plan b .

So vitamin a is needed to prevent night blindness , okay , to be able to see in the dark somewhat .

It’s also needed to prevent dry eyes .

It’s also needed to help the eye compensate .

Benefits of vitamin A:

  • • It helps you see in the dark
  • • It prevents dry eyes
  • • It helps the eyes compensate
  • • It helps prevent rough, scaly, or dry skin
  • • It supports the immune system and helps prevent infections
  • • It supports healthy mucus membranes and your internal skin
  • • It helps support childhood development
Vitamin A functions

So this is probably why if someone’s very , very deficient in vitamin a , they’re gonna have a hard time , focusing in on different things because another symptom of vitamin a deficiency is dry eyes , but also dry skin .

Vitamin a is also necessary for , any type of skin differentiation .

So if you don’t have enough vitamin a , your skin might not turn into a nice soft skin .

It might be rough , scaly , dry skin .

It’s also needed to help the eye compensate for distances as well .

So some of the accommodation reflex , is dependent on a certain amount of vitamin a .

Vitamin a is desperately needed to prevent infections because it’s very important for your immune system .

And I’m not just talking about the external skin .

external skin .

I’m talking about also problems with the internal skin , like the mucus membranes of your sinuses , like the internal skin of the esophagus , of the stomach , of the intestines can all be affected by a vitamin a deficiency .

And as a child is developing early on , that child needs a good amount of vitamin a .

What causes vitamin A deficiency?

Top causes of vitamin A deficiency:

  • • Pregnancy
  • • Breastfeeding
  • • Polymorphism
  • • Pasteurization
  • • Low-fat diets
  • • Liver damage
  • • Lack of bile
  • • Gut damage

So this relates to why certain people are deficient .

A woman who’s pregnant , right , is more susceptible to having a vitamin a deficiency because of the demand for vitamin a goes up .

Also , if she’s breastfeeding , she needs more vitamin a .

This is probably why , your grandmother or your parents recommended a spoonful of cod liver oil on a regular basis .

That delicious cod liver oil .

So other reasons why people are deficient is having this false idea that beta carotene is retinol .

It’s not

What causes vitamin A deficiency?

Beta carotene has to be converted into retinol to be active , and that leads to another reason why a person might be deficient in vitamin a .

Well , there’s something called polymorphism .

That is the genetic mutation that can affect certain things in your body .

But , apparently , the gene that converts beta carotene into retinal could be a polymorphic gene .

It could be mutated .

In fact , there’s a study I read that shows that it’s it’s pretty common to have a problem with that gene that converts beta carotene into retinal .

So that could be another reason why someone is deficient in retinol because they might be consuming a lot of beta carotene .

It’s not converting , or they might be consuming in the active form of vitamin a , yet they have this genetic weakness .

And by the way , if that’s the problem , I would recommend not just increasing the amount of retinal foods .

Okay ?


I would also add bile salts and maybe another type of bile salt called TUTCA to increase , more absorption .

And , of course , that’s a perfect segue to another reason why people are deficient in vitamin a .

They don’t have enough bile .

They have bile problems .

Let’s say they have gallstones , or they had gallstones , or they have their gallbladder removed , or they have sludge in the gallbladder , or they have a fatty liver , or some of the problem with the liver that makes bile .

There’s a lot of reasons why you might not have enough bile .

It also could be you took an antibiotic .

The microbes in your gut actually make a certain type of bile as well , so that could be another reason .

Let’s say , for example , you are in a low fat diet .

Of course , if you’re on a low fat diet , you’re not gonna be eating the foods high in retinal .

Let’s say you’re on a medication called statin that blocks your ability to turn cholesterol into bile .

You end up with a bile deficiency , so taking statins can actually give you a vitamin a deficiency as well .


And the last point on why you might be deficient is just , some knowledge on vitamin a gets destroyed with heat .

So if milk is pasteurized , if someone consumes milk and it’s not raw , it’s just pasteurized , they’re not gonna get a vitamin a .

Or let’s say , they’re consuming a lot of carrots or kale that’s overly cooked .

Well , that just destroys the precursor , so it’s not gonna turn into retinol .

Or , again , you’re not consuming raw cheese .

You’re just doing the regular pasteurized cheese .

Some Sources:

Dr. Berg

I am a health educator specializing in weight loss through nutritional and natural methods such as the keto diet plan and intermittent fasting

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