Symptoms Vitamin A Deficiency?



Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. There are two different types of vitamin A. One variant is called retinol and can be found in meat and fish products, but also in animal milk products. The other variant is made within the body with the help of the carotene from various vegetables and fruits.

Vitamin A contributes to the strengthening of the immune system and helps to support the growth of children. In addition, it helps to keep your vision intact and contributes to a healthy reproductive system.

Vitamin A often also functions as an antioxidant, which helps fight inflammation in the body. Vitamin A deficiency is not common in the Western world, but there are a number of groups at higher risk of developing vitamin A deficiency.

People with a higher risk of obtaining an vitamin A deficiency are:

    • Children born prematurely,
    • Babies and young children,
    • Pregnant and breastfeeding women,
    • People with cystic fibrosis (Cystic Fibrosis).

A shortage of vitamin A can be recognized by the following symptoms. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, it may be wise to consult a physician.


Because vitamin A supports and strengthens the eyes, a severe deficiency of this vitamin can cause you to suffer from night blindness. Researchers have found a link between night blindness and low vitamin A levels in developing countries (1).

Further research showed that the administration of supplements can reduce the complaints (2).

In short: a vitamin A deficiency can cause you to develop night blindness. However, research has shown that the symptoms can be reduced with supplements.


Vitamin A plays a major role in the development and repair of skin cells. In addition, it also helps to combat inflammation in certain skin conditions, such as eczema (3). Using vitamin A as a treatment for eczema can significantly reduce its symptoms.

When you are deficient in vitamin A, this can result in more complaints of dry skin (4). In addition, it can lead to more problems with eczema.

In short: vitamin A contributes to healthy skin. A deficiency of this can therefore cause dry and itchy skin.


Not only does vitamin A support the development of babies and children, it is also essential for a healthy reproductive system in men and women. A vitamin A deficiency can cause you to become less fertile (5). Infertile men, in particular, often need more antioxidants, which vitamin A can help with.

A study has shown that a vitamin A deficiency can also contribute to an increased rate of miscarriages (6). There appeared to be a relationship between the number of miscarriages and the level of vitamin A in the body of the women tested.

In short: a vitamin A deficiency can contribute to reduced fertility in men and women. It may also be related to an increased rate of miscarriage in women.


One of the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is dry eyes. This is also called xerophthalmia (7). This includes not being able to produce tears. In extreme cases, prolonged xerophthalmia can lead to blindness, characterized by spots called “Bitot's Spots” (8).

Dry eyes, however, can be easily treated with the help of supplements.

In short: one of the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is dry eyes, which can eventually lead to blindness. Fortunately, this symptom is easy to treat.


Because vitamin A also functions as an antioxidant, a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to an increased risk of throat and chest infections. Although researchers are not yet fully sure whether vitamin A is the main cause of this, it has been shown that the elderly benefit from the administration of this vitamin, because a high content of beta-carotene can protect against respiratory problems (9).

In short: although more research needs to be done on the link between vitamin A and throat and chest infections, research has shown that the beta-carotene supplement reduces the risk of respiratory problems in the elderly.


Vitamin A plays a huge role in the production of collagen, an important part of healthy skin. However, a vitamin A deficiency can lead to poorer healing of wounds and cuts in the skin, because your body is unable to produce enough collagen.

Research has shown that applying a topical cream with vitamin A can speed up wound healing(10). In fact, another study in rats found that vitamin A can prevent diabetes-related wounds (11).

In short: vitamin A plays a major role in collagen development. A deficiency can therefore ensure that your wounds heal faster. However, research has shown that sufficient vitamin A can accelerate wound healing and even prevent diabetes-related wounds.


Since vitamin A plays a major role in skin development, as well as acting as an antioxidant, it can prevent blemishes and acne (12).

Research has shown that people with acne had lower levels of vitamin A than people without acne. In addition, a cream with vitamin A can reduce outbreaks by up to 50% (13).

In short: vitamin A can prevent pimples and acne, but a cream with vitamin A can prevent outbreaks by up to 50%.


Vitamin A deficiency can contribute to reduced growth in children. Research has shown that children who received vitamin A support grew up to 0.4 cm more (in 4 months) than children without supplementation (14).

Still, researchers are not quite sure whether the growth of children can be better influenced by vitamin A in combination with other vitamins (15).

In short: Vitamin A deficiency can slow growth in children, but this can be resolved with supplements.


Since vitamin A functions as an antioxidant, it plays a huge role in your immune system. Antioxidants fight the free radicals that damage your cells. When you have too little vitamin A in your body, this substance can also protect you less, making you more susceptible to viruses and bacteria (16).

In short: a vitamin A deficiency can make you more susceptible to viruses and bacteria.

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