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Vitamin A

Retinol, the animal form of vitamin A, is a yellow fat-soluble, antioxidant vitamin important in vision and bone growth.

It belongs to the family of chemical compounds known as retinoids.

Retinol is ingested in a precursor form; animal sources (milk and eggs) contain retinyl esters, whereas plants (carrots, spinach) contain pro-vitamin A carotenoids.

Hydrolysis of retinyl esters results in retinol while pro-vitamin A carotenoids can be cleaved to produce retinal.

Vitamin A is required in the production of rhodopsin, the visual pigment used in low light levels.

This is why eating foods rich in vitamin A is said to allow you to see in the dark.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Vitamin A", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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May 28, 2015

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