Retinol sources, health benefits and uses

Retinol or vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient that is essential for various body functions. The nutrient is especially important in maintaining good eye sight. According to the Chemistry Explained website, retinol chemically belongs to the isoprenoid group of compounds, which also houses cholesterol, vitamins E and K.

Retinol is an important nutrient that should be obtained either from organic compounds seen in animal products or compounds found in plants. Animal products that contain high levels of retinol include fish liver oil, eggs, dairy products — such as cream, fortified milk and whole milk yogurt as well as butter and cheese — and beef liver.

Yellow- and orange-colored fruits and vegetables are also notably rich in retinol. These foods include sweet potatocarrot, mango, and tomato as well as apricotpeach, and papaya. Green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach are excellent sources of retinol too.

Medicinal uses for retinol

Retinol or vitamin A is best known for its beneficial effects in maintaining eye health. An entry featured in the University of Maryland Medical Center website noted that people with adequate retinol intake have reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Previous studies have also shown that people who have higher retinol levels are less susceptible to cataracts than those who have lower levels. The nutrient is important in helping the eyes adjust to light changes as well. Likewise, retinol helps keep the eyes moist and enhance night vision. More importantly, retinol or vitamin A maintains retinal health and prevents the onset of night blindness.

The nutrient also protects against certain types of cancer. People who have high retinol intake from fruits and vegetables have lower odds of developing breast, colon, esophageal and cervical cancer. Previous studies have also shown that the compound helps prevent the onset of melanoma.

Retinol is essential in maintaining both urinary tract and bone health too.  The compound is known to inhibit the formation of urinary calculi and keeps the urinary lining healthy to mitigate the risk of urinary stones. Likewise, the nutrient facilitates the formation of dentin, a layer of hard material that enhances bone and teeth strength.

In addition, the vitamin is helpful in promoting cardiovascular health. An Organic Facts entry notes that retinol reduces blood cholesterol levels, which in turn slashes the risk of serious cardiovascular conditions and stroke.

Retinol is found to enhance muscle health as well. The nutrient is touted to ensure proper muscle development in children and teens, thus cutting the risk of muscular dystrophy. The compound is also essential in replacing old and worn out tissues with new ones.

Moreover, retinol plays a key role in fortifying the body’s defenses against a plethora of infections. The nutrient in shown to boost the lymphocytic responses against disease-causing antigens, enhance white blood cell activity and keep the mucus membranes moist. These effects lower the odds of contracting various conditions such as measles, bacterial infections, and viral infections.

The nutrient is an important component of skin care too. Retinol is found to slow down the skin’s aging process, which in turn prevents the onset of wrinkles and age spots. Likewise, the compound helps mitigate sebum production and improves certain skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis.

Furthermore, the nutrient’s anti-inflammatory properties help relieve ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease. Retinol is known to improve the reproductive health as well.

Body systems supported by retinol

Retinol is especially beneficial in maintaining eye health. Likewise, the nutrient helps ensure strong immunity, better cardiovascular and digestive profiles and healthy bones and urinary tract. The compound is also shown to maintain skin, muscle and overall reproductive health.

Where to learn more


Retinol prevents various types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and eye conditions.

Retinol staves off infections, digestive issues, skin diseases, and urinary stones.

Retinol benefits the eyes, the heart, and the teeth and bones.

Retinol supports the immune system and both the digestive and urinary tract.

Retinol improves skin, muscle, and reproductive health.

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