Vitamin A deficiency was, and arguably still is, a major public health problem in India. But the level of deficiency has declined significantly.
Government of India runs a Vitamin A supplementation program for children six months to 6 years of age. But low blood levels are still reported by NNMB in all age groups, especially in children and pregnant women
Plasma retinol levels (a blood test, requiring fasting) can tell about adequacy status of vitamin A, but this test is not commonly used. Instead, doctors advise to ensure adequate intake from rich dietary sources and safe supplements
However in people with night blindness and eye signs (Bitot’s spot etc.), your doctor may advise the test
Food provides Vitamin A in one of the two forms:
The activity levels of different forms of vitamin A are different. So you would need more of vitamin A if you get it from plant sources . The unit of comparison is Retinol Equivalent
1 Retinol Equivalent (RE)=1 mcg of retinol (Vitamin A from animal sources)= 8-12 mcg of beta-carotene from food of plant origin= 2 mcg of beta-carotene from fortified food (breakfast cereals/oils )
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