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How Much Vitamin A Is Too Much?

Vitamin A is vital for visible well being. It additionally contributes to wholesome pores and skin and hair and boosts your immunity. If you’re not getting sufficient, you may develop signs like evening blindness, dry, scaly pores and skin round your eyes, coarse hair and respiratory infections.

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Vitamin A deficiencies are extra frequent in some components of the world than others. This is due to many elements, together with meals insecurity, frequent gastrointestinal infections brought on by poor water sanitation, insufficient healthcare entry and a excessive prevalence of measles, which may trigger vitamin A to be misplaced in urine.

While it’s vital to keep away from a vitamin A deficiency, it’s equally vital to be sure you aren’t overdoing it on dietary supplements. We’ll stroll you thru how a lot vitamin A that you must really feel your greatest — and what occurs whenever you take an excessive amount of.

What is vitamin A?

It’s greatest to get vitamin A from vegetables and fruit that comprise carotenoids. In addition to orange-colored greens and fruit — carrots, candy potatoes, squash and papayas — you additionally want lycopene, astaxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. You can discover these carotenoids in crimson and yellow-orange vegetables and fruit, in addition to leafy greens, eggs, shrimp and salmon. And don’t overlook watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit and tomatoes!

It’s vital to get as many nutritional vitamins and vitamins as you may out of your meals. “However, widespread changes in farming practices mean a lower nutrient content in our fruits and vegetables,” cautions purposeful drugs specialist Melissa Young, MD. “Many people still benefit from having their nutrient levels assessed and taking a high-quality daily multivitamin.”

While a complement often is the proper selection, dosing issues. That’s as a result of there is such a factor as an excessive amount of vitamin A.

Too a lot vitamin A signs

Fat-soluble nutritional vitamins like vitamin A can result in toxicity as a result of your physique doesn’t excrete any extra — it shops it. Vitamin A’s presence in so many various supplements compounds the issue.

Vitamin A doses are measured in micrograms of retinol exercise equivalents (mcg RAE). This measurement is to account for the completely different properties of retinol and provitamin A carotenoids. Depending in your age, intercourse and whether or not or not you’re pregnant or lactating, your really helpful day by day quantity is between 500 mcg REA and 1,800 mcg of vitamin A per day REA.

The really helpful day by day allowance (RDA) for grownup males and folks assigned male at beginning (AMAB) is 900 MCG REA, or 3,000 worldwide models (IU). For grownup girls and folks assigned feminine at beginning (AFAB) the RDA is 700 mcg RAE, or 2,330 (IU). For all adults, the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) — probably the most vitamin A one can take with out experiencing adverse well being results — is 3,000 mcg RAE, or 10,000 IU.

“Patients who take a variety of supplements are getting much more vitamin A than they should,” says Dr. Young. Some dietary supplements might embrace two types of vitamin A — retinyl acetate and blended carotenoids — which she says is an efficient mixture for most individuals. The exception: People who smoke. That’s as a result of medical trials present that beta-carotene dietary supplements had been related to an elevated threat of lung most cancers in individuals who smoke. Smokers or former people who smoke shouldn’t take beta-carotene dietary supplements.

There are two completely different sorts of vitamin A toxicity: acute and power.

Acute vitamin A toxicity signs

Acute vitamin A toxicity occurs when anyone — normally a baby — by accident ingests a megadose of vitamin A. Common signs embrace:

  • Headache.
  • Rash, which can trigger the affected pores and skin to peel later.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Irritability.
  • Stomach ache, nausea and vomiting.

In acute vitamin A toxicity circumstances, signs ought to resolve over time. Still, if a person (particularly a baby) is experiencing these signs, you need to name Poison Control, and, if directed, go to the closest emergency room.

Chronic vitamin A toxicity signs

Chronic vitamin A toxicity occurs when an individual takes extreme doses of vitamin A (10,000 IU or extra) per day over a chronic interval. The signs are extra delicate and tougher to tell apart from different circumstances. They embrace:

  • Severe complications and strain in your cranium (idiopathic intracranial hypertension).
  • Hair points like sparse, coarse hair and alopecia of your eyebrows.
  • Skin points, like dry, tough, itchy pores and skin (pruritus) and cracked lips.
  • Weakness and susceptibility to fractures.
  • Enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) or spleen (splenomegaly).
  • Children might expertise lack of urge for food (anorexia), joint ache (arthralgia) and extreme bone development (cortical hyperostosis). Vitamin A toxicity may also trigger “failure to thrive,” which — whereas not a good factor — sounds scarier than it’s. It mainly means your baby’s development has both slowed or stopped.

Once you cease taking the complement, the signs of power vitamin A toxicity normally take between one and 4 weeks to resolve.

There’s one crucial exception to that rule: Vitamin A is teratogenic, which suggests it may trigger fetal improvement points. Once these malformations happen, they’ll’t be reversed. For that motive, pregnant folks — and individuals who might turn into pregnant — shouldn’t take extreme doses of vitamin A.

What to do should you’ve taken an excessive amount of

If you observed anyone has acute vitamin A toxicity — which means they ingested a megadose of vitamin A — you need to name Poison Control at 1.800.222.1222 for instant help.

If you’re involved that you simply or a beloved one could also be experiencing the results of power vitamin A toxicity, you need to schedule an appointment with a healthcare supplier. They’ll assessment your remedy and dietary supplements, in addition to conduct blood exams, to find out what’s inflicting your signs.


Avoiding vitamin A deficiency is vital … but it surely’s additionally vital to keep away from vitamin A toxicity. So, earlier than you decide up these drugs or gummies, communicate with a health care provider. They can let you understand should you actually should be taking a complement — and decide the correct dose on your explicit state of affairs. 

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