Can You Overdose On Vitamin A

Vitamin A Health Benefits

This area concentrates on three conditions and conditions in which vitamin A may play a role: cancer, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and measles.


Because of the role vitamin A plays in controlling cell development and differentiation, several researches have examined the association in between vitamin A and different kinds of cancer. However, the relationship in between serum vitamin A levels or vitamin A supplementation and cancer danger is unclear.

Numerous prospective and retrospective observational research studies in current and former smokers, as well as in people who have never ever smoked, found that greater intakes of carotenoids, vegetables and fruits, or both are related to a lower threat of lung cancer [1,22] Nevertheless, medical trials have actually disappointed that additional beta-carotene and/or vitamin A helps prevent lung cancer. In the Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET), 18,314 current and previous cigarette smokers (consisting of some males who had been occupationally exposed to asbestos) took daily supplements including 30 mg beta-carotene and 25,000 IU retinyl palmitate for 4 years, usually [23] In the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene (ATBC) Cancer Prevention Study, 29,133 male smokers took 50 mg/day alpha-tocopherol, 20 mg/day beta-carotene, 50 mg/day alpha-tocopherol and 20 mg/day beta-carotene, or placebo for 5– 8 years [24] In the beta-carotene element of the Physicians’ Health Study, 22,071 male physicians took 325 mg aspirin plus 50 mg beta-carotene, 50 mg beta-carotene plus aspirin placebo, 325 mg aspirin plus beta-carotene placebo, or both placebos every other day for 12 years [25] In all three of these researches, taking very high dosages of beta-carotene, with or without 25,000 IU retinyl palmitate or 325 mg aspirin, did not prevent lung cancer. In reality, both the CARET and ATBC studies showed a significant boost in lung cancer risk among research study individuals taking beta-carotene supplements or beta-carotene and retinyl palmitate supplements. The Physicians’ Health Study did not discover an increased lung cancer threat in participants taking beta-carotene supplements, potentially due to the fact that just 11 % of doctors in the research study were current or previous cigarette smokers.

The proof on the relationship between beta-carotene and prostate cancer is combined. CARET research individuals who took everyday supplements of beta-carotene and retinyl palmitate had a 35 % lower threat of nonaggressive prostate cancer than males not taking the supplements [26] However, the ATBC study discovered that baseline serum beta-carotene and retinol levels and additional beta-carotene had no impact on survival [27] Moreover, guys in the highest quintile of standard serum retinol levels were 20 % most likely to establish prostate cancer than males in the lowest quintile [28]

The ATBC and CARET study results recommend that large extra dosages of beta-carotene with or without retinyl palmitate have destructive effects in existing or previous cigarette smokers and workers exposed to asbestos. The significance of these result in individuals who have never ever smoked or to the impacts of beta-carotene or retinol from food or multivitamins (which typically have modest quantities of beta-carotene) is not known. More research is needed to determine the results of vitamin A on prostate, lung, and other kinds of cancer.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of significant vision loss in older people. AMD’s etiology is generally unknown, however the advancing impact of oxidative tension is postulated to play a role. If so, supplements including carotenoids with antioxidant functions, such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, may be useful for preventing or treating this condition. Lutein and zeaxanthin, in specific, build up in the retina, the tissue in the eye that is damaged by AMD.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), a large randomized clinical trial, found that individuals at high threat of developing advanced AMD (i.e., those with intermediate AMD or those with advanced AMD in one eye) lowered their risk of establishing sophisticated AMD by 25 % by taking a day-to-day supplement containing beta-carotene (15 mg), vitamin E (400 IU dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate), vitamin C (500 mg), zinc (80 mg), and copper (2 mg) for 5 years compared to individuals taking a placebo [29]

A follow-up AREDS2 research study verified the value of this supplement in decreasing the progression of AMD over a median follow-up period of 5 years however found that including lutein (10 mg) and zeaxanthin (2 mg) or omega-3 fatty acids to the solution did not give any additional benefits [30] Notably, the study revealed that beta-carotene was not a needed component; the original AREDS solution without beta-carotene offered the exact same safety impact against establishing sophisticated AMD. In a more in-depth analysis of outcomes, supplements with lutein and zeaxanthin decreased the danger of advanced AMD by 26 % in individuals with the most affordable nutritional consumption of these 2 carotenoids who took a supplement containing them compared to those who did not take a supplement with these carotenoids [30] The danger of advanced AMD was also 18 % lower in individuals who took the modified AREDS supplement containing lutein and zeaxanthin however not beta-carotene than in individuals who took the formula with beta-carotene but not lutein or zeaxanthin.

Individuals who have or are developing AMD must talk to their healthcare provider about taking among the supplement solutions made use of in AREDS.


Measles is a major reason for morbidity and mortality in youngsters in developing countries. About half of all measles deaths occur in Africa, however the disease is not limited to low-income countries. Vitamin A deficiency is a known risk element for serious measles. The World Health Organization recommends high oral dosages (200,000 IU) of vitamin A for 2 days for children over age 1 with measles who live in locations with a high occurrance of vitamin A shortage [31]

A Cochrane review of 8 randomized regulated trials of treatment with vitamin A for kids with measles found that 200,000 IU of vitamin A on each of 2 consecutive days minimized death from measles in youngsters younger than 2 and death due to pneumonia in youngsters [31] Vitamin A likewise minimized the occurrence of croup but not pneumonia or looseness of the bowels, although the mean duration of fever, pneumonia, and diarrhea was much shorter in kids who received vitamin A supplements. A meta-analysis of 6 high-quality randomized regulated trials of measles treatment also discovered that two dosages of 100,000 IU in infants and 200,000 IU in older kids considerably lowered measles death [32] The vitamin A dosages made use of in these studies are much greater than the UL. The efficiency of vitamin A supplements to deal with measles in nations, such as the United States, where vitamin A consumption are generally adequate doubts.

The body needs vitamin A to keep the corneas and other epithelial surfaces, so the lower serum concentrations of vitamin A connected with measles, specifically in individuals with protein-calorie poor nutrition, can cause loss of sight. None of the studies examined in a Cochrane testimonial assessed loss of sight as a primary result [33] However, a mindful medical investigation of 130 African youngsters with measles exposed that half of all corneal ulcers in these youngsters, and almost all bilateral loss of sight, took place in those with vitamin A deficiency [34]

Can You Overdose On Vitamin AExcess Vitamin A

Because vitamin A is fat soluble, the body shops excess quantities, mostly in the liver, and these levels can build up. Although excess preformed vitamin A can have substantial toxicity (referred to as hypervitaminosis A), big amounts of beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids are not associated with major negative impact. The symptoms of hypervitaminosis A depend upon the size and rapidity of the excess consumption. The signs of hypervitaminosis A following sudden, enormous consumption of vitamin A, similar to Arctic explorers who consumed polar bear liver, are severe [36] Chronic consumption of excess vitamin A lead to enhanced intracranial pressure (pseudotumor cerebri), lightheadedness, nausea, headaches, skin irritation, pain in joints and bones, coma, as well as death [2,4,5] Although hypervitaminosis A can be due to extreme nutritional consumption, the condition is typically a result of consuming too much preformed vitamin A from supplements or healing retinoids [3,5] When individuals take in too much vitamin A, their tissue levels take a long time to fall after they terminate their intake, and the resulting liver damage is not always reversible.

Observational researches have actually suggested an association between high intakes of preformed vitamin A (more than 1,500 mcg daily– just slightly higher than the RDA), minimized bone mineral density, and enhanced fracture threat [1,4,37] Nevertheless, the results of studies on this risk have actually been blended, so the safe retinol consumption level for this association is unknown.

Total consumptions of preformed vitamin A that surpass the UL and some artificial retinoid made use of as topical therapies (such as isotretinoin and etretinate) can cause congenital birth defects [2-4] These abnormality can consist of malformations of the eye, skull, lungs, and heart [4] Ladies who may be pregnant must not take high dosages of vitamin A supplements [2]

Unlike preformed vitamin A, beta-carotene is not understood to be teratogenic or cause reproductive toxicity [1] As well as huge supplemental dosages (20– 30 mg/day) of beta-carotene or diets with high levels of carotenoid-rich food for extended periods are not connected with toxicity. The most significant effect of long-lasting, excess beta-carotene is carotenodermia, a harmless condition where the skin becomes yellow-orange [1,22] This condition can be reversed by discontinuing beta-carotene intake.

Supplementation with beta-carotene, with or without retinyl palmitate, for 5– 8 years has actually been associated with an enhanced threat of lung cancer and heart disease in current and former male and female smokers and in male current and previous smokers occupationally exposed to asbestos [24,38] In the ATBC research, beta-carotene supplements (20 mg everyday) were also connected with increased death, generally due to lung cancer and ischemic heart disease [24] The CARET research study ended early, after the private investigators discovered that everyday beta-carotene (30 mg) and retinyl palmitate (25,000 IU) supplements enhanced the danger of lung cancer and heart disease mortality [38]

The FNB has actually established ULs for preformed vitamin A that apply to both food and supplement intakes [5] The FNB based these ULs on the amounts connected with an increased threat of liver abnormalities in men and women, teratogenic effects, and a variety of harmful impacts in babies and children. The FNB also considered levels of preformed vitamin A related to reduced bone mineral density, but did not utilize these information as the basis for its ULs since the proof was conflicting. The FNB has not developed ULs for beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids [22] The FNB encourages versus beta-carotene supplements for the basic population, other than as a provitamin A source to avoid vitamin A shortage.

How much Vitamin A

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Preformed Vitamin A.

0– 12 months 600 mcg RAE.
(2,000 IU)
1– 3 years 600 mcg RAE.
(2,000 IU)
4– 8 years 900 mcg RAE.
(3,000 IU)
9– 13 years 1,700 mcg RAE.
(5,667 IU)
14– 18 years 2,800 mcg RAE.
(9,333 IU)
19+ years 3,000 mcg RAE.
(10,000 IU)

*These ULs, expressed in mcg and in IUs (where 1 mcg = 3.33 IU), only apply to products from animal sources and supplements whose vitamin A comes completely from retinol or ester forms, such as retinyl palmitate. Nevertheless, lots of dietary supplements (such as multivitamins) do not supply all of their vitamin A as retinol or its ester types. For instance, the vitamin A in some supplements consists partially or entirely of beta-carotene or other provitamin A carotenoids. In such cases, the portion of retinol or retinyl ester in the supplement ought to be made use of to determine whether an individual’s vitamin An intake surpasses the UL. For instance, a supplement identified as containing 10,000 IU of vitamin A with 60 % from beta-carotene (and for that reason 40 % from retinol or retinyl ester) offers 4,000 IU of preformed vitamin A That amount is above the UL for kids from birth to 13 years but listed below the UL for teenagers and adults.

Interactions with Medications

Vitamin A can communicate with certain medications, and some medications can have a negative impact on vitamin A levels. A couple of examples are supplied below. People taking these and other medications regularly need to discuss their vitamin A status with their healthcare carriers.


Orlistat (Alli ®, Xenical ®), a weight-loss treatment, can reduce the absorption of vitamin A, other fat-soluble vitamins, and beta-carotene, causing low plasma levels in some clients [39] The makers of Alli and Xenical suggest motivating patients on orlistat to take a multivitamin supplement including vitamin A and beta-carotene, in addition to other fat-soluble vitamins [40,41]


Several synthetic retinoids derived from vitamin A are made use of orally as prescribed medicines. Examples include the psoriasis treatment acitretin (Soriatane ® )and bexarotene (Targretin ®), made use of to deal with the skin impacts of T-cell lymphoma. Retinoids can enhance the danger of hypervitaminosis A when taken in mix with vitamin A supplements [39]

Vitamin A and Healthful Diets

The federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans keeps in mind that “nutrients ought to come mostly from foods. Foods in nutrient-dense, mainly intact kinds consist of not just the vital vitamins and minerals that are often included in nutrient supplements, however likewise dietary fiber and other naturally taking place substances that might have positive health results. … Dietary supplements … might be useful in particular circumstances to increase intake of a specific vitamin or mineral.”.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans describes a healthy diet plan as one that:
– Emphasizes a range of fruits, veggies, entire grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk items. Lots of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products are great gets of vitamin A. Some ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin A.
– Includes lean meats, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, and nuts and seeds. Beef liver contains high amounts of vitamin A. Other sources of the nutrient consist of some fish, beans, and nuts.
– Limits strong fats (hydrogenated fats and trans fats), cholesterol, salt (salt), sugarcoated, and improved grains.
– Stays within your calorie requires.



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