Vitamin A Sources Side-effect Intraction

Vitamin A (retinol and retinoic acid) is an essential nutrient for vision, growth, cell division, reproduction, and immunity.  It has antioxidant properties as well.

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Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells from the effects of free radicals. which are molecules produced by your body when it digests food or is exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.

Free radicals may play a role in cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other diseases.

Many foods contain Vit A, including spinach, dairy products, and liver.

Other beta-carotene-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, carrots, and cantaloupe.

Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A by your body. As an oral supplement, vita A primarily benefits people who have a poor or limited diet.

Have a condition that increases vita A requirements, such as pancreatic disease, eye disease, or measles.

Keep in mind that if you take vitamin A for its antioxidant properties, the supplement may not provide the same benefits as naturally occurring antioxidants in food.

Adult men should consume 900 micrograms (mcg) of vita A per day, while adult women should consume 700 mcg.

What is the evidence?

Oral vitamin A research for specific conditions reveals:

  • Acne:  Large doses of oral vita A supplements appear to have no effect on acne.
  • Macular degeneration as we age: A large clinical trial found that taking a specific combination of vitamins containing beta-carotene reduced the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration by 25% in people at high risk. It is unclear what role beta-carotene played.
  • Cancer: The link between vitamin A supplement use and a lower risk of lung, prostate, and other types of cancer is unclear.
  • Measles:  Vitamin A supplements are advised for measles patients who are at high risk of vitamin A deficiency. According to research, supplementation may reduce measles-related deaths.

Vitamin A is used in topical creams to reduce fine wrinkles, splotches, and roughness, as well as to treat acne.


Most people will get enough vitamin A from a healthy, varied diet.

Food sources are the best way to get vitamin A’s antioxidant properties.

It is unclear whether vitamin A supplements provide the same benefits as naturally occurring antioxidants found in food.

Excess vitamin A can be harmful, and high levels of vitamin A during pregnancy have been linked to birth defects.

Side effects and safety:

Too much vit A can be toxic. A single large dose — more than 200,000 mcg — can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vertigo
  • Blurry vision

Long-term use of oral vit A supplements containing more than 10,000 mcg per day can result in:

  • Bone thinning
  • Liver damage
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Skin irritation
  • Pain in the joints and bone
  • Birth defects

Before taking vit A, consult your doctor if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.

Excessive vitamin A consumption during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects.


Interactions that may occur include:

Anticoagulants: Taking vita A supplements orally while taking these blood clot-prevention medications may increase your risk of bleeding.

Bexarotene (Targretin): Taking vit A supplements while using this topical cancer medication increases the risk of side effects like itchy, dry skin.

Hepatotoxic medications: High doses can harm the liver. High doses of vit A supplements combined with other drugs that can harm the liver may increase the risk of liver disease.

Orlistat (Alli, Xenical): This weight-loss medication may reduce the absorption of vita A from food sources.

While taking this medication, your doctor may advise you to take a multivitamin containing vit A and beta-carotene.

Retinoids:  Don’t take Vit A supplements and these prescription oral medications at the same time.

This may increase the likelihood of having high vitamin A blood levels.

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