The Vitamin A - retinol - molecule - rotatable in 3 dimensions

Vitamin A has a vital role in vision.

It is also known as retinol. The retina is the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye, and the rods and cone cells found here all use a derivative of retinol - another page on the BioTopics site retinal, in conjunction with other compounds.

Vitamin A in the body can come from several dietary sources: esters, e.g. retinyl palmitate, which are simply hydrolysed in the digestive system, or via related carotenoid compounds, e.g. carotene, which require more processing.

The retinol molecule consists of a ring section with a side chain containing four double bonds, and with an -OH ( alcohol) group at the end. This molecular structure - empirical formula C20H30O - explains why retinol is fat soluble.

Another way of describing retinol is "( 2E, 4E, 6E, 8E)- 3,7-Dimethyl-9-( 2,6,6-trimethyl-1- cyclohexen-1-yl)- 2,4,6,8-nonatetraen-1-ol".

Display: numbers on ring ... numbers on sidechain

Label/ Unlabel atoms