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The effect of vitamin A on epithelial integrity. *

Vitamin A is the generic term for a variety of fat-soluble substances including retinol, retinyl palmitate and the provitamin A carotenoids such as all-trans-beta-carotene. Vitamin A is commonly known as the anti-infective vitamin and has an essential role in vision and cellular differentiation, the latter providing a unique core mechanism helping to explain the influence of vitamin A on epithelial barriers. Alterations in the epithelial lining of vital organs occur early in deficiency, suggesting a potentially important role for the barrier function. Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is most commonly recognized in the eye.

The conjunctival-impression cytology test detects the presence of larger irregular keratinized cells and the absence of mucous-secreting goblet cells, indicative of VAD. The method is simple, quick and sensitive in populations where VAD is present. In the respiratory tract, observational studies all show an association with VAD, although vitamin A supplementation studies appear to have little effect on respiratory disease. Organ-specific targeting may improve success rates. The dual-sugar intestinal-permeability test allows the effect of vitamin A supplementation to be monitored on the gastrointestinal tract.

Two vitamin A supplementation studies were carried out recently in Orissa State, India. Healthy infants of weaning age were administered orally eight weekly doses of 5·0 mg retinol equivalents and hospitalized infants received one large oral dose 60 mg retinol equivalents in the form of retinyl palmitate. Improvements in gut integrity and haematological status were observed in both studies. In summary, the response of the eye to vitamin A supplementation is well established; the present review highlights some of the more recent observations examining the effects of vitamin A.

* Legal Disclaimer: Chelation and Hyperbaric Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and other treatments and modalities mentioned or referred to in this web site are medical techniques that may or may not be considered “mainstream”. As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication or guarantee that you will heal or achieve the same outcome as patients herein.

As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 07-06-2006