Retinol, or vitamin A, is known in pharmacology as one of the most useful fat-soluble substances. But why does it have such a name and what does “vitamin A” mean?
Known in modern pharmacology antioxidant got its name not by chance - this is the first vitamin discovered by man, and since the beginning of the last century it has been called in Latin the first letter of the alphabet. The properties and biochemical characteristics of retinol are so wide that it is probably easier to name those industries where it has not found its application than the areas of use. But still, we will try to tell as much as possible about the beneficial properties of the number one vitamin.
History of the discovery
The history of the discovery of vitamin A dates back to 1909, when the German scientist Stepp launched a series of experiments on mice. The animals were first fed bread mixed with milk, but as soon as food was introduced into the diet after extraction with alcohol and ether, the growth of the experimental animals stopped and they died. This made it possible to make a scientific discovery: the extraction of bread with organic solvents removed lipoids necessary for the life of animals from it.
In 1913, two more groups of researchers made a different conclusion: no lipids (found in chicken yolks and butter) the development of mammals is impossible. A year later, after carefully studying the chemical structure of the oil, scientists found an element later called "fat-soluble factor A", or "growth factor". In short and in simple terms, the main conclusion of many years of experiments was that the body is able to absorb retinol only in the presence of fats.
Another important discovery of scientists: the substance that is part of carrots, pumpkins, persimmons and other yellow-orange fruits, promotes the growth of mammals and resumes the process development. This pigment was named daucus carota, or carotene (which means "carrot" in Latin), then group A vitamins began to be called carotenoids.
In 1916, the first chemical formula of a discovered substance became the subject of detailed study. Scientists were interested in the composition, products containing it, useful properties and methods for obtaining the vitamin in the laboratory.
After the Second World War, the process of industrial production of retinol started, the chemical nature and structural formula of the substance became known.
Today, biotechnology studies the chemical and biological processes for obtaining vitamin A. We will not touch upon narrow professional terminology and explain what the coenzyme form is or remember the empirical name of the vitamin. Let's talk about the properties of retinol in a simpler and more accessible language, but based solely on facts.
Pharmacology refers to several substances under the name "group A vitamins":
- retinol, or, as called vitamin A in oil, retinol acetate;
- retinoic acid;
- retinal (active form A1).
They are different forms of vitamin A from the general group - retinol. The functions of dehydroretinol and retinol are to promote the formation of tissues and the adequate functioning of the reproductive system. Retinal is indispensable for eye health, and retinoic acid improves the process of growth and restoration of the epithelium. But more often, group A vitamins are not separated, and when used, the physicochemical properties characteristic of the entire group of substances are taken into account.
Properties of vitamin A
- Pure retinol is a substance with a crystalline structure. Its color is light yellow. This is why fruits and vegetables with yellow pigment are known as foods rich in vitamin A.
- Has the ability to dissolve in fats. Does not dissolve in water.
- There are different types of vitamin: natural and artificial. Manufacturers have made sure that the beneficial properties of retinol are more pronounced in synthetic isomers. But such, at first glance, a positive moment hides the main danger: an overdose when using pharmacy vitamins is not uncommon, since retinol in tablets or capsules is more concentrated than its natural counterpart.
- When food is heated, 15-20% of the vitamin is destroyed. Storage of food in the sun has a devastating effect: the structure of the molecule is quickly destroyed by exposure to ultraviolet radiation and oxygen.
Vitamin A in foods
There are two forms of growth factor. The first is retinol itself, a true vitamin ready to be included in chemical processes. The body gets it from animal products.
Oversaturation or poisoning with vitamin A is almost impossible if it is replenished exclusively from fruits and vegetables.
Foods rich in retinol
As already noted, the bulk of natural retinol is found in foods of animal origin. Greater vitamin value are:
- fish oil;
- liver (beef), heart, brain;
- fat milk, butter, cream, cottage cheese, cheese;
- chicken yolk.
Foods containing beta-carotene
Provitamin A is found in these plants:
- yellow, green vegetables;
- fruits are yellow, red;
- spicy greens;
- herbs (nettle, plantain, dandelion, horsetail, sage, hops, mint, bearberry, clover, alfalfa);
- burdock root;
- violet, raspberry leaves;
- rose hips, hawthorn.
If you create a rating of foods that contain vitamin A, then the first place will be taken by food of animal origin. To find out exactly where the largest amount of retinol is, you need to study the chemical composition of food.
A large dose of natural vitamin A is found in liver, caviar, quail and chicken eggs. Among the products of plant origin, hawthorn and dandelion hold the record, 100 g of which can provide the body with 160 percent of the daily requirement of beta-carotene. The daily requirement of provitamin will be provided by 100 g of fresh carrots or 200 g of wild garlic. Also, do not forget about the presence of carotenoids in brightly colored vegetables and fruits.
In addition to natural sources, synthetic derivatives of vitamin A can provide the body with retinol. It would seem that in the heyday of pharmacology, biochemistry will take care of human health. He took a complex of vitamins, the chemical properties of which correspond to natural analogues, and you can not be afraid of beriberi, forget about the need to think over the diet.
But before drinking vitamin A capsules, it is important to realize that it is not really that simple. For full-fledged work, the body must receive vitamins and microelements in its main share from natural sources, and only from time to time it is allowed to use a synthetic analogue.
It is logical that the daily requirement of a vitamin for men, women and children is not the same. It is also different for people of different age groups. Moreover, the daily norm in mg is determined in its own way for residents of different climatic zones working in different conditions. The comparative table contains information on the daily requirement of the vitamin for residents of our latitudes.
|Children under 6 months||400–600 mcg|
|Children 7 mo. – 1 year||500–600 mcg|
|1–3 years||300–600 mcg|
|4–8 years||400–900 mcg|
|9-13 years||600-1700 mcg|
|Adolescents (male)||900-2800 mcg|
|Adolescents (female)||700-2800 mcg|
|Elderly people||900-3000 mcg|
|During lactation||1800-4500 mcg|
The figures collected in the table show how much vitamin is needed per day to A during certain periods of development of the organism. The traditional daily norm in some cases may vary. For example, the dosage is adjusted for people with obesity, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver, viral or bacterial pathologies.
A doctor may prescribe an increased dose of retinol for people who regularly spend several hours a day at a computer, working mentally or in darkened rooms, or with increased physical activity.
Climatic conditions can influence the indications for the use of a vitamin and its dosage. A temperate and cold climate usually does not require correction of the daily vitamin dose (of course, if we are talking about healthy people). But residents of sunny, hot regions should take care of increasing the consumption of retinol.
Another important note about dosages. Experts from the World Health Organization convince that the source of ¾ of the consumed vitamins of group A should be food of animal origin, the remaining quarter - vegetable.
Vitamin A and its importance for health
Everyone knows that a balanced intake of a complex of vitamins is of great importance for the body. In order to understand how important a function retinol performs in the human body, it is necessary to understand what processes it regulates.
The biological role of a substance consists of several aspects. Carotenoids have no equal when it comes to restoring the skin, treating the eyes, and preventing cancer.
This antioxidant vitamin is involved in the process of activating the immune system, has a beneficial effect on bone tissue, and its positive effect on the reproductive system has been proven. The versatility and beneficial properties of retinol have made it one of the best known and most used vitamins.
Where and how is retinol used?
Application examples, role in the body:
- Participates in metabolism, regulates metabolism.
- Promotes the process of protein formation and the growth of new cells. Indispensable for babies during the formation of bones and teeth; for adolescent growth. In sports, it is known as a substance that has a beneficial effect on muscles (accelerates growth).
- Important for the eyes - prevents a number of ophthalmic diseases, helps maintain sharp vision in poorly lit rooms.
- Improves immunity, protects against colds and viruses, is used to prevent acute respiratory infections.
- Useful properties for the treatment of acne and acne are well known. Vitamin A is an excellent medicine for psoriasis, it quickly heals wounds, including post-burn ones. Eliminates wrinkles and stretch marks of the skin after a sharp change in weight. In cosmetology, it has found application as a universal beauty remedy.
- It is a part of complex programs for the treatment of infertility, cancer prevention, is indispensable for the gastrointestinal tract - a good medicine for the gastric mucosa in gastritis.
- An important component of drugs for blood vessels and heart disease.
- Has found practical application in veterinary medicine.
When the vitamin is low…
Retinol deficiency can cause many diseases. Laboratory diagnostics will help to find out the real amount of vitamin A in the human body. Although in most cases, especially if vitamin deficiency lasts for a long time, the symptoms of the disease manifest themselves clearly.
The consequences of vitamin A deficiency are serious. In particular, it leads to a disease known as night blindness.
Poor vision, dryness of the mucous membrane of the eyeball, clouding of the cornea, a feeling of sand in the eyes, blurred vision at dusk, and discomfort in dark rooms - such symptoms in adults and children are caused by a lack of carotenoids. Without treatment, the unpleasant manifestations of the disease will progress.
Hypovitaminosis A and neuralgic problems also go together. The most common disorder is insomnia.
The lack of an adequate dose of retinol affects the quality of the skin (early appearance of wrinkles, follicular hyperkeratosis - “toad skin”, acne), teeth (enamel is destroyed), hair (dry and lifeless), dandruff appears, suffers urinary and digestive systems.
In gynecology, signs of vitamin A deficiency are considered in such manifestations as erosion, polyps, mastopathy and even cancer. Also, the male reproductive system suffers from a lack of carotenoids: potency decreases, erection weakens, spermatozoa lose their viability, and the risk of cancer increases.
When there is not enough vitamin A, immunity weakens, the body becomes more sensitive to viral diseases, colds. In children, in addition to a tendency to frequent acute respiratory infections, there are signs of a slowdown in physical and mental development, growth stops.
At the first sign of low levels of vitamin A, it is important to adjust your diet right away, and not just replace natural retinol with its chemical analogue.
Causes of vitamin deficiency
But what are the reasons for the lack of carotenoids in the body and how to protect yourself from such unpleasant consequences? The most common reason for the occurrence of hypovitaminosis A is poor nutrition (insufficient intake of protein and fatty foods).
In second place are diseases of the digestive system (improper functioning of the organs, in particular, the altered structure of the liver prevents the absorption of the vitamin).
The third reason is inadequate forms of vitamin E, which also affects the absorption of retinol. At risk - adhering to a low-calorie diet for weight loss. Usually the diet is a food devoid of fat, and with a deficiency of lipoids, the absorption of carotene is impossible.
Why is an overdose of retinol dangerous?
Realizing the inferiority of the diet, you can put into use a complex of synthetic vitamins - pharmaceutical analogues of retinol. But trying to compensate for the lack of a vitamin with the help of medications, it is easy to go to the other extreme - to provoke its excess. This can happen quite quickly - pharmacy retinol accumulates in the body several times faster than organic.
Hypervitaminosis disrupts the functioning of most systems, and disease with an excess of vitamin is as dangerous as beriberi.
There are two forms of hypervitaminosis A, acute and chronic. The first form is the result of a single dose of the vitamin before meals or after meals in a particularly large dose.
Symptoms of acute hypervitaminosis:
- pain in joints, bones, abdomen;
- cracks in the corners of the mouth;
- hair loss, destruction of the structure of the nail plates;
- weakness, sweating (mainly at night), irritability;
- headache accompanied by vomiting ;
- in women menstrual irregularities;
- deterioration of the digestive system, enlargement of the liver and spleen;
- acute liver failure;
- coma, death.
It is almost impossible to achieve hypervitaminosis with food alone. The exception is the inhabitants of the polar latitudes. Only regular consumption of the liver of northern animals, which contains a large amount of vitamin A, can cause a natural overabundance of retinol.
Chronic excess is a consequence of its systematic use in excessive doses. This form of hypervitaminosis is more common. You can understand this by various symptoms. The intensity of their manifestation depends on the amount of accumulated substance.
Signs of excess (chronic form): allergic reactions (itching, redness), peeling of the skin, pigmentation, insomnia or vice versa - drowsiness, confusion, irritability, swelling along the bones, sores in the mouth, bleeding gums, irregular periods, indigestion, nausea, pseudojaundice, yellowing of the nails, double vision, hair loss, dandruff. Newborns with hypervitaminosis are threatened by hydrocephalus. An excess of the maximum daily dose of the vitamin, consumed daily for several years, is the key to cirrhosis of the liver.
It is extremely dangerous to exceed the allowable rate of retinol for pregnant women. Regular receipt of more than a daily dose leads to improper formation of the genitourinary system of the fetus, slows down its growth, the child can be born with serious defects. Correction of the daily dose of vitamins is carried out even when planning pregnancy. The way of using the drug is exactly according to the instructions.
Compatibility with other substances
The drugstore assortment offers a variety of multivitamin combinations that promise to restore the reserves of all useful substances for the body. But resorting to the help of tableted vitamins is the second step. The first is to adjust the diet, replenish the menu with foods rich in retinol. This is easiest to do in the summer when beta-carotene containing plants are available.
However, it is not uncommon to encounter a situation where the daily diet is varied, but the blood tests are still not the best. Why is vitamin A not absorbed?
First, as noted, it is important to know what retinol is best absorbed with. To a large extent it depends on fats. The absence of fatty foods in the diet eliminates all attempts to replenish carotenoids. That is why even pharmacy counters have fish oil with vitamin A.
Secondly, when compiling a menu, combining products, it is important to know how to drink vitamins correctly, that is, the principles of their combination. As for carotenoids, they are best absorbed in combination with vitamin E or zinc.
A good combination is vitamin A and iron, in which case the body will get the maximum benefit from both substances. But with acetylsalicylic and hydrochloric acids, retinol sorbents should be taken separately.
Everyone needs Vitamin A!
Retinol is necessary for the normal growth and development of people of any gender, age, social status.
For women's health
Retinol, along with vitamin E, is indispensable for women's health. It has a positive effect on hormonal balance, contributes to the normal functioning of the gonads, and regulates the menstrual cycle.
Vitamin A is necessary for mastopathy, it is important in the fight against benign tumors in the mammary glands. In combination with folic acid, it is an effective remedy for eliminating menopausal symptoms.
Pregnancy planning is a crucial stage for the future mother and child. Even six months before conception, it is worth taking care of the balance of vitamins, because for the next 9 months, the female body will have to provide itself and the fetus with the necessary trace elements.
At this stage, it is important that the daily dose of vitamin A for a woman be calculated by a doctor. Self-correction is not allowed.
It is better if vitamins and microelements important for conception are accumulated with food. To exclude the negative effect of vitamin A on the fetus, synthetic substances should be avoided.
Benefits of retinol during pregnancy:
- promotes rhodopsin (visual pigment) formation, placental and fetal development;
- strengthens the immune system;
- has a beneficial effect on sleep, heart function;
- strengthens nails and hair, improves skin condition.
Studies show that vitamin deficiency is the main cause of reduced lactation. For a nursing mother, the number one rule is to monitor the level of vitamins in the body: the quality of milk mainly depends on this indicator. It is especially important for infants whose bodies develop and grow rapidly to receive a sufficient daily dose of substances during feeding, in particular growth factor - vitamin A.
But oral intake of retinol is not the only use of retinol by nursing mothers. It is also applied externally. Many women during lactation and feeding the baby faced such a nuisance as cracked nipples. And again, vitamin A will come to the rescue - its oil solution.
Using it for nipples during breastfeeding, you can almost completely get rid of the problem: it is enough to treat the cracked area 5-6 times a day with oil, whose name is retinol acetate.
There is a lot to say about the benefits of retinol for babies. In the first years of life, when there are active processes of development, skeletal construction, group A vitamins are important in the diet for proper growth and bone tissue. But when there is a child in the house, vitamin A should be present not only on the plate in the form of food.
Parents should take care that liquid retinol does not disappear from the family medicine cabinet, as it can come to the rescue more than once, replacing ointments and nasal drops.
For example, with stomatitis retinol in oil will quickly relieve pain, the healing properties of the vitamin will help heal wounds on the lips or palate.
Why do children need retinol?
- for skeletal growth and development;
- formation of organs of the reproductive system;
- protection of mucous membranes from microbes;
- prevention of diseases of the respiratory system;
- sharp vision;
- for acne in teenagers.
There is a need to take pharmacy retinol - it is better to ask the pediatrician which course will be optimal for the child.
For the eyes
Even children know about the role of carotenoids for vision. From a very early age, we were told what carrots meant for eye health. However, the beta-carotene found in plants is only good for prevention. When the disease sets in, another form of vitamin A comes to the rescue - retinol drops. Moisturizing eye drops with vitamin A (antixerophthalmic vitamin) are good not only for treatment, but also for prevention, in particular for people whose work is connected with a computer.
Interestingly, it is the lack of retinol that is the cause of the distortion of color perception, drying of the cells of the cornea and conjunctiva. The participation of vitamin A in the process of light perception has also been proven.
The consequence of beriberi is that the visual analyzer loses the ability to perceive and distinguish the brightness of light. The distortion of light perception is the cause of the weakening of other possibilities of the visual apparatus.
Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor at the first symptoms of the disease and discomfort, and always have eye drops with vitamin A on hand.
Effects on the endocrine system
Recent studies have revealed interesting facts about the effect of vitamin A on the body of patients diagnosed with diabetes. Under the influence of retinol, insulin production in diabetes mellitus increases, as a result of which the blood sugar level stabilizes. This helps to reduce the dosage of the drug.
Lack of vitamin A and magnesium negatively affects the work of the thyroid gland: it loses its properties, and disruptions in the endocrine system cause metabolic disorders, decreased immunity.
The best prevention of disease is proper nutrition. It is important to include in your daily diet a list of foods rich in vegetable beta-carotene and animal retinol.
Oncology and retinol
Useful properties of vitamin A are often and effectively used by modern medicine. One of the latest revolutionary discoveries is the beneficial effect of retinol on the process of treating cancer patients. Experiments have shown that its daily use throughout the year slows down the formation of metastases in the postoperative period. A course of taking a vitamin as a prophylaxis can protect against the formation of malignant tumors. Retinol acetate is known as a drug used to treat skin cancer in combination with other drugs.
Speaking of cancer. It has been proven that smokers are 25 times more likely to develop cancer than people who lead a healthy lifestyle. Smoking can cause cancer of the throat, lips, larynx, palate, pancreas, and bladder. Even children know about the dangers of tobacco smoke for the lungs. Therefore, it is especially important for smokers to monitor the level of vitamin A in the body. Daily use of retinol for six months can protect against diseases such as leukoplakia.
For teeth and bones
Retinol, which synthesizes proteins in bone and cartilage tissue, is indispensable during the growth period of children and teenagers. It is important for teeth (makes them strong, even, white) and for gums (strengthens, makes smooth, healthy pink color). Hypovitaminosis becomes the cause of stomatitis, periodontal disease (alarm signal - bleeding gums), destruction of tooth enamel.
There are two ways to compensate for the lack of retinol in the child's body: the use of synthetic analogues and regulation of the diet. Eggs, fish liver, caviar, carrots, fatty dairy products, broccoli, bell peppers, that is, everything related to vitamin A.
In infectious diseases
The anti-infectious properties of vitamin A were known long before vitamin C. An argument in its favor are the results of studies showing that regular use of retinol can eliminate complications in case of chickenpox. Undoubtedly, resistance to infections is achieved in different ways: this is vaccination, and personal hygiene. But it is also the maintenance of vitamin and mineral balance.
Speaking about the anti-infective and immunostimulatory properties of vitamin A, one cannot help but recall AIDS. The description of scientific experiments convinces that even a slight but regular use of retinol can slow down the development of the disease.
Infected people can get vitamin from food, but this will not be enough. AIDS is a disease in which one cannot do without additional intake of retinol in the form of pharmaceutical preparations or dietary supplements. At the same time, it is important to regularly measure the level of the vitamin in the patient's body in order to avoid overdoses.
In sports nutrition
Regular restoration of energy reserves is necessary for the full and high-quality functioning of the body. Especially when it comes to people who give the body intense physical activity. Special nutrition for athletes usually consists of carefully calculated proportions of proteins, vitamins and trace elements that contribute to muscle growth.
Since retinol is an important part of sports nutrition, there is an opinion that vitamin A makes you fat. Actually this is not true.
Vitamin A in bodybuilding is used in complexes for weight gain, but in this case, the change in body weight is not due to fat deposits, but due to muscle growth. Sports nutritionists, knowing about the ability of retinol to accelerate the formation of new cells, used this function to build muscle tissue. In addition, vitamin A is an indispensable substance in the process of protein synthesis.
But novice athletes should know: during a period of intense exercise, it is important to use retinol regularly and in large doses - with food (when making a menu for a week, take into account which foods are rich in vitamin A), drink its pharmacy counterpart. It is important not to overdo it and be aware of a possible overdose, although with intensive calorie burning, the absorption of vitamin A deteriorates.
In cosmetology and skin problems
In cosmetology, vitamin A has found its use as a rejuvenating component. Due to its low molecular weight, it is able to penetrate deep into the skin, protecting and restoring its structure.
Retinol acetate for skin is used as a treatment for age spots and stretch marks.
For cosmetic purposes, vitamin A is used in creams:
- for the body (tones, relieves irritation);
- for hands (softens, nourishes);
- for legs (for cracked heels);
- for the face (for acne).
Also in cosmetics, the properties of retinol are used in hair masks (improves structure, treats dandruff), in products for cuticles, nails, eyelashes, eyebrows and lips.
Cosmetic use involves combining vitamin A with other beneficial ingredients. The most popular mix is considered to be a complex of retinol and vitamin E. If you add a few drops to an oil base (for example, from wheat germ), you get an excellent tool for eyelash growth. The same mixture can be used for eyebrow growth.
To prepare a cream, you need to add vitamins A, E, B, D in liquid form (in ampoules or in the form of an oil solution) to the finished base. The finished mixture can be equally effectively used both for heels - retinol acetate heals cracks and microdamages of the skin, and for the face - it will provide acne treatment.
Zinc oxide can be added to the cream fortified with retinol - it is suitable for oily skin, it will dry out acne. But it is worth remembering the school curriculum, for example, what the reaction of vitamin A with sulfuric acid looks like in order to understand that retinol is absolutely incompatible with acids.
When vitaminizing a cream, it is important to introduce retinol into it (especially if the preparation is prepared for sensitive skin) in minimal portions - no more than 0.1-0.5% of the total volume. As the skin adapts, the amount of vitamin can be slightly increased.
Liquid retinol is also good for soap making. But so that the substance does not lose its beneficial properties during cooking, it is added to the already prepared soap mixture.
Recently, mesotherapy – rejuvenating vitamin A injections – is gaining popularity. Retinol in combination with vegetable oils promotes the rapid growth of nails, restores and protects them, moisturizes and softens the cuticle. It is enough to rub a few drops of the oil mixture into the fingertips in the evenings. Not sure how to choose an effective nail care product? Why not cook it yourself?
Recipe No. 1 for nails and cuticles
- vegetable (almond, coconut, grape seed, apricot or other);
- ethereal (lemon, rosemary, orange, or tea tree);
- vitamins E and A in oil form.
Mix ingredients thoroughly. Store in the refrigerator in a dark bottle. Rub daily for a month.
Recipe No. 2
Mix in a bottle (glass, dark) 1 ml of vitamin A and E, add 3 ml of apricot oil and 6 ml of jojoba oil. Mix. Pour in 2 drops of lemon essential oil and 4 drops of rosemary essential oil. Rub daily into the cuticle and nail with massaging movements.
The remedy has a firming effect. Regular use will help maintain healthy nails, relieve plate delamination, dry cuticles, and spots.
Retinol for peeling
The active form of vitamin A, or retinoic acid, has found its application in cosmetology as an effective peeling drug. Retinoic yellow peeling is a procedure that stimulates the process of epidermal cell renewal and skin rejuvenation.
How does vitamin A peeling help?
Indications for peeling: uneven skin color on the face, acne, sagging cheeks. It has proven itself in dermatitis, accelerates the treatment of acne. The frequency of procedures is 1-2 per month and a half.
Depending on the additional components, the peeling mixture is left on the skin for different periods of time: sometimes no longer than an hour, in other cases overnight. The result of an improper procedure is allergy and intoxication.
Useful properties of yellow peeling:
- enhances the protective functions of the skin;
- strengthens local immunity (creates a barrier to bacteria, fungi, viruses);
- reduces the risk of pustules;
- accelerates wound healing;
- brightens the skin (in areas of age spots);
- promotes cleansing of dead cells.
But in addition to many positive effects, vitamin A peeling can in some cases cause side reactions. In particular, the procedure is prohibited for pregnant women, given the mild toxicity of auxiliary cosmetics.
Vitamin A formulation (retinol acetate) is an effective treatment for warts. The course of treatment - from several weeks to six months. The essence of the procedure is the daily rubbing of oil into the warts. It is enough to do it once a day, preferably at night. Before doing this, be sure to consult a doctor.
In veterinary medicine
Only two of the known 13 vitamins in excess can become dangerous to the health of both humans and animals. We are talking about vitamins A and D. It is important for pet owners to remember this if they decide to artificially fortify the animal's menu.
A very small dose of retinol is sufficient for the normal development of a cat or dog, but a deficiency or excess of the vitamin causes serious disorders, in particular bone disease. For animals, vitamin A is an excellent protection against infections, a substance to increase immunity, improve vision, and restore the epithelium; necessary for the normal development of embryos. In a word, the application in veterinary medicine is as wide as in medicine.
The course of treatment for dogs and cats is different. In particular, cats replenish their vitamin A reserves from animal substances, that is, ready-made retinol.
Dogs are able to synthesize the necessary substance from beta-carotene. These features are explained by the difference in the metabolism of different groups of animals. But the course of vitaminization should be determined by a veterinarian, because hypervitaminosis is extremely dangerous for animals, and therefore the rate of consumption of synthetic retinol must be carefully observed.
Symptoms of hypovitaminosis in animals: impaired coordination, xerophthalmia, corneal clouding, epithelial damage.
Hypervitaminosis leads to diseases of the musculoskeletal system (lameness, brittle paws, tooth loss).
The use of various dosage forms
A pharmaceutical analogue of retinol is prescribed as a therapeutic agent and for prevention, taken externally, intramuscularly and orally. The release form of retinol is determined by the purpose for which the drug will be used.
What is sold in pharmacies
- tablets of various dosages, including effervescent ones;
- injection solutions;
- oral oil solutions;
- oil extract (yellow liquid with a specific smell - like a fish smells);
- vitamin A concentrate;
- powder (granules).
How to use different forms of vitamin
- Oil solution (externally). For dressings, lotions for eczema, ulcers, burns, frostbite, for healing wounds. Clean the wounded surface, apply an oil solution on it and cover the treated area with sterile gauze folded in 2 layers. Repeat the procedure 6 times a day. It is also possible to take an oil solution inside, but it is important to know how to use the drug correctly. To do this, you need to drip 10-20 drops of oil on a piece of black bread. Take three times a day after meals. The duration of the course is from 2 weeks to 4 months.
- Tablets, dragees. For the prevention or treatment of beriberi and in cardiovascular diseases. Take 3-5 tablets after meals for a month. Then a 2-month break and repeat. The reception scheme is the same.
- Ointment with vitamin A. Apply to wounds, problem areas of the skin, gout. In parallel with the external use of retinol, to enhance its action, take it orally (in the form of tablets, dragees or capsules).
- Vitamin A syrup. It is used for hypovitaminosis in babies.
- Capsules. Relevant for diseases of the digestive, genitourinary, respiratory system.
- Intramuscular injections. They are carried out only in a hospital under the supervision of a doctor (with night blindness, severe beriberi).
How to store and use correctly
The biochemical properties of synthetic vitamin A can be preserved for a long time only if the drug is stored properly. For each medication or dietary supplement, instructions for use are provided, which indicate how to take and save. Here we list the general rules for all.
- Store the oil solution in a cool place.
- Do not apply retinol and creams containing vitamin A at night - swelling may occur.
- Remove excess cream or oil from the skin with a tissue.
- Do not use an oil solution before using a tanning bed: such a tan can turn into a burn.
- Do not use products that are past their expiration date.
- Take a break between courses of application.
- Before the first course of application, test the drug on a small area of the skin to rule out allergic reactions.