Nutrition and DietRetinol: functions, deficiency, recommended amounts and rich foods

Retinol: functions, deficiency, recommended amounts and rich foods

All about retinol: what it is, main functions, symptoms caused by its deficiency, recommended daily amounts and foods richer in this vitamin.

With the name of retinol is also known to vitamin A. In fact, although it is a not so popular name, the truth is that it can be a good indication of its beneficial action on the retina of the eye.

Retinol is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it is a vitamin that needs fat in order to dissolve. In some plant foods (especially yellow and orange vegetables) we can find what is known as provitamin A, also known by the name of carotene, which is transformed into retinol in the human body, and which provide an important antioxidant, anti-cancer and preventive of heart conditions.

Retinol is stored both in the liver (in large quantities) and in the fatty tissue of the skin.  When it comes to preventing food from losing this important essential nutrient, it is necessary to bear in mind that iron or copper cookware can destroy it, as can light and high temperature cooking.

Retinol functions

  • Essential for low light vision, being a component of visual pigments.
  • Participates in the production of liver enzymes.
  • Fundamental in the development of the skeleton and tissues, since it participates in the synthesis of proteins.
  • Helps in the formation of tooth enamel.
  • Participates in the development of adrenal and sexual hormones.
  • Necessary to maintain healthy superficial tissues and skin.

Therefore, retinol positively helps in cases of reproduction disorders, sensitivity to light (photophobia), night blindness, growth problems, bones and teeth, alterations of the defenses, dry and rough skin, brittle nails, and loss of the hair.

Symptoms of retinol deficiency

A retinol deficiency or deficiency can cause:

  • Night blindness (when there is a prolonged lack of at least one or two years).
  • Alterations in the skin.
  • Ulcers on the cornea.
  • Loss of appetite and sense of taste.
  • Hair loss.
  • Keratinization of the mucous membranes that line the digestive, respiratory, urinary and skin tracts.

Recommended daily amount of retinol

Age Men Women
1-3 years 400 mcg 400 mcg
4-6 years 500 mcg 500 mcg
7-10 years 700 mcg 700 mcg
From 11 years 1000 mcg 800 mcg
Lactation 6 months 1200 mcg
Pregnancy and breastfeeding After 6 months 1300 mcg

Foods Higher in Retinol

Here are the main food sources of retinol per 100 grams of food:

Food Calcium content
(100 gr.)
Liver 20,000 mcg
Foie’s and patés 8,300 mcg
Cod liver oil 1,800 mcg
Carrot 1,346 mcg
Turnip greens and turnip greens 1,000 mcg
Eels and levers 1,000 mcg
Spinach 942 mcg
Margarine 900 mcg
Butter 828 mcg
Fatty cheeses 800 mcg
Eggs (chicken) 740 mcg
Sweet potato and sweet potato 667 mcg
Caviar 560 mcg
Spinach 542 mcg
Watercress 500 mcg



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