Use in Prevention and Therapy

Infectious diseases. Infections of the skin (fungal infections, acne, impetigo, boils), influenza, conjunctivitis, ear infections (otits externa and media), bronchitis and pneumonia, and infectious diarrheal disease may benefit from vitamin A. Even in children who are not vitamin A deficient, vitamin A can lessen the severity of communicable infectious diseases.5,12,13 For example, vitamin A supplements taken with measles or infectious diarrhea can reduce complications and mortality by more than 50%.5,13

Skin and scalp/hair disorders. Vitamin A helps maintain skin health and may be beneficial in cases of dry skin, dandruff, premature aging of skin,14 eczema, and psoriasis.

Traumatic injury. Vitamin A plays a major role in the healing of wounds and bony fractures.

Gynecologic disorders. Vitamin A may be beneficial in reducing menstrual symptoms (heavy menstrual bleeding, breast tenderness) and in benign fibrocystic breast disease.

Protection against carcinogens. Vitamin A is one of nature's primary anticancer substances, particularly in the skin and mucous membranes. Ample intakes of vitamin A have been shown to protect against cancers of the lung, bladder, prostate, larynx, esophagus, stomach, and colon. Vitamin A can prevent precancerous lesions, such as oral leukoplakia (white patches on the lips and mouth often found in smokers) and cervical dysplasia, from developing and may produce regression and disappearance of these disorders.15 As a cancer treatment, large doses of retinoic acid may reduce growth and recurrence of certain forms of skin cancer.16 As an antioxidant, beta-carotene helps provide protection against damage from many xenobiotics (such as polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs]). It may also reduce the risk of skin cancer associated with exposure to sunlight6 and radiation.2

Respiratory disorders. Vitamin A may reduce symptoms and severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, particularly in regular smokers.17

Gastric ulcers. Vitamin A helps maintain gastric mucus production and may reduce stress ulceration in traumatized or burned patients.

Cataract. Ample intake of vitamin A and beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing cataract.

Anemia. The combination of iron plus vitamin A may be more effective than iron alone in treating iron-deficiency anemia.

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