DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Vitamin A. Computer model of a molecule of the fat-soluble vitamin A (retinol, C20.H30.O). The atoms (solid tubes) of this organic molecule are colour-coded: carbon (yellow), hydrogen (grey) and oxygen (red). Retinol, obtained from the precursor beta-carotene that is found in plants such as carrots, is itself a precursor to retinal. Retinal is an important chemical for vision. Deficiency can lead to night blindness. Retinol is stored in the liver and can be toxic in excessive amounts. Small amounts of vitamins are an essential part of a healthy diet, providing enzyme cofactors for the varied biochemistry of body metabolism.
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