Vitamin A

This molecule was part of the Vitamin A and Retinoic acid set
June 09, 2014
Image of Vitamin A and Retinoic acid 3D Image of Vitamin A and Retinoic acid
Figure 1: Vitamin A
Image of Vitamin A and Retinoic acid 3D Image of Vitamin A and Retinoic acid
Figure 2: Retinoic acid

Vitamin A, or retinol, is produced from carotenoids in the livers of animals. It is also broadly defined as a series of compounds that have structures similar to retinol. It is essential for growth and development, and for strong vision. Retinoic acid is a metabolite of vitamin A that mediates the vitamin’s functions.

Recently, H. Veiga-Fernandes and co-workers at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (Lisbon) discovered that vitamin A is not only necessary for animals’ health, but it also may be essential for setting up the immune system before birth, when fetuses are in utero. They found that pregnant mice with vitamin A–poor diets produce babies with small lymph nodes and consequently weak immune systems. Retinoic acid produced from the mother’s vitamin A activates a gene that produces a hormone receptor that mediates the growth of lymphoid cells. 

MOTW Update: 
October 17, 2016

This week’s Chemical & Engineering News reports that BASF plans to build a 1500-t/year vitamin A acetate plant that will open in 2020. The acetate is the article of commerce because it is more stable than the free vitamin A alcohol.

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