Let’s discuss the effects of diet on eye health, specifically the glands responsible for producing tears and the tear ducts. These processes are directly dependent on the availability of vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a key role in controlling the cells that line the inside of the glands and tear ducts, as well as other tissues that line the inside of the eye.
Vitamin A Deficiency and Dry Eyes
When vitamin A deficiency occurs, the inner lining of the glands and ducts may change its structure, becoming thicker and stiffer. This change can lead to decreased tear production, which can cause dry eyes. People who experience this symptom sometimes mistakenly purchase eye drops containing steroids.
However, it is important to note that self-diagnosis and buying vitamins from the drugstore is not always the best solution. It is not recommended to buy synthetic forms of vitamin A, as they can have many side effects.
Instead, it is recommended that you include foods in your diet that are rich in natural vitamin A. It is found in the following foods, for example:
- fish oil,
- cod liver,
- fatty fish,
- egg yolks,
- fatty cheese,
It is important to note that the concept of vitamin A also includes provitamin A (beta-carotene) and other carotenoids found in orange fruits, vegetables and green leaves such as:
- sweet potatoes,
- red peppers,
- brussels sprouts,
So remember, a varied and balanced diet plays an important role in maintaining eye health and preventing vitamin A deficiency.
The right approach to vitamin A
Let’s understand vitamin A a little better. When you read that a product contains vitamin A, what you’re really talking about is a provitamin that needs to be converted to its active form, called retinol. This process is not very efficient: it takes 20 molecules of the provitamin to make one molecule of retinol. Half the population also has genetic changes that make this conversion difficult.
Retinol, the main form of vitamin A, is only found in animal products. If you are vegan and suffer from dry eyes, it may be because your body cannot convert beta-carotene (a provitamin) into retinol. However, there are other possible causes, and if the problem persists, consider the following health issues.
If you continue to have dry eyes despite your best efforts, it may be due to intestinal inflammation caused by antibiotic use. It’s also worth considering possible liver problems such as fatty liver or gallbladder dysfunction, especially if you’ve had your gallbladder removed, which can lead to a lack of bile.
Another possible cause is bacterial overgrowth syndrome in the intestines. This syndrome can deprive you of essential nutrients, as evidenced by excessive bloating after eating foods, especially those rich in fiber and vegetables.
You should also consider that the fatty liver problem mentioned earlier may be related to an inflammatory process. It is important to note that all liver-related problems can affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin A. This vitamin accumulates in the liver, and when it becomes fatty, it loses the ability to effectively store vitamin A as well as other fat-soluble vitamins.
Therefore, it is important to consider not only sources of vitamin A, but also other aspects of health to better understand the causes of potential problems.