Vitamin A may play a key role in sperm production, central nervous system development and a host of other functions, according to recent research that was conducted at the Van Andel Research Institute in Michigan.
A team of scientists discovered that the nutrient stimulates a nuclear receptor in the body which activates genes to carry out essential bodily functions.
"Because [the nuclear receptor] TR4 plays roles in sperm cell production, lipid and lipoprotein regulation, the development of the central nervous system and the regulation of hemoglobin production in the embryo, we can imagine that Vitamin A may play more important roles in human physiology than was previously believed," said lead researcher Edward Zhou, Ph.D.
Authors of the study said its findings may lead to more effective therapies for various diseases.
The National Institutes of Health reports that chicken and beef liver, carrots, cooked spinach, kale and cantaloupe all contain more than a day's worth of vitamin A per serving. The nutrient has been shown to promote healthy eyes, bones and skin. It may also strengthen an individual's immune system to help them avoid disease.