Vitamin A is a group of compounds that have biological activity of retinol which is a nutrient essential for vision, reproduction, growth, differentiation of epithelial and mucus secretion. The main source of vitamin A carotenoid pigments and retinyl esters from animals. This compound is converted into retinol and esterified with long chain fatty acids, the result is then absorbed together with fat and transported to the liver to be stored.
The word “carotene” comes from the Latin word meaning has particularly carrots, the yellow and orange pigments in fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are a group of pigments yellow, orange or red-orange. Carotenoids are fat soluble or organic solvents but insoluble in water, these substances only found in plants and are not produced by the human body. Khloroplast carotenoids found in leaves or stems of plants that are green as chlorophyll. Carotenoids are also found in other parts besides the leaves and stems of plants such as tubers and fruits. In general, the carotenoid content was low in tuber except in carrots and sweet potatoes.
Carotene abundant in carrots, bananas, papaya, oranges, fruit pepper, and chili. Carotene in watermelon and tomatoes is lycopene shaped. Lycopene as carotenoids that give red color, but lycopene different with other carotenoids compounds because lycopene is not pro-vitamin A, so it can not be converted into vitamin A in the body.
Other types of carotenoids are xanthopyl, the carotenoid-containing group of hydroxyl. In contrast to other carotenoids xanthophyl only found in certain plants, such Capsanthin. Intake of vitamin A requirement generally increases with age for both men and women.
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