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Healthy Vitamins

Is Too Much Vitamin A Dangerous?

Lately we have been reading a lot in the popular press that vitamin A may be toxic if we consume it in more than the rather low RDA amounts.  In fact, there was even a panel that recommended lowering the RDA amount from 5000 IU daily to 2500 IU.  They recommended an upper limit of 10,000 IUs for women, and warned that women who got more than that might cause birth defects as well as irreversible liver damage. 

This warning is actually quite ridiculous, considering that just a couple decades ago, pregnant women were told to take cod liver oil every day as well as eat liver several times per week.  They often did just that, without causing birth defects.    Liver can contain up to 40,000 IU of vitamin A, and 1 tablespoon of high vitamin cod liver oil can have more than 15,000 IU!  This means that pregnant women were getting easily 25 to 30,000 IU’s of natural vitamin A per day with no side effects.

Once again, that fear comes from studies done with synthetic vitamin A, not natural A.  As you may have understood by now from our website, there is a BIG difference between natural and synthetic vitamin A, like with all natural and synthetic vitamins.  Some of the confusion also stems from poorly conducted studies that did not even take blood measurements of vitamin A levels. 

In additional note, the difference between synthetic and natural vitamins seems to be even more pronounced with fat-soluble vitamins like A, because they tend to be more complex and more of this complexity is missing in the synthetic forms.  We really recommend that you avoid the synthetic forms of the fat-soluble vitamins like A & D.

There have been many studies that have shown NO toxicity from rather high amounts of natural vitamin A in the diet.  One was a Swiss study that found by using actual blood levels that even a dose of 30,000 IU per day had no connection whatsoever with birth defects.  Another Italian study found no birth defects with women who consumed more than 50,000 IU of vitamin A daily.

Vitamin A Toxicity Is Greatly Exaggerated

In spite of warnings from your doctor or various website or articles, Vitamin A is only toxic if given in high doses as synthetic A, or in very high doses (so high, it rarely occurs) from natural sources.  There have been reports of toxicity symptoms like headaches, drowsiness, vomiting and irritability by adult arctic explorers who consumed several million IUs of vitamin A that came from the liver of a seal or polar bear.   That's right, we said several million IUs!  Once they discontinued eating these livers with the consequent high levels of A, the symptoms went away rather rapidly.

Toxicity from synthetic A has been reported by people who took 100,000 IUs per day for a period of several months.  However, think about this, in order to get 100,000 IU of A in your diet naturally, you would need to consume 3 tablespoons of high vitamin cod liver oil, 7 pounds of butter, 3 – 100 gram portions of beef liver or 309 egg yolks!!!  Every day, you would need to consume these amounts – can you imagine anyone doing that?  So we think it is actually quite safe, in fact, quite healthy for you to add butter, cream and egg yolks back into your diet, especially if they came from pastured animals.


If you are still afraid of saturated fats, click here for more info.

FDA Disclaimer:  None of the statements on this website have been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  They are not intended to diagnose, treat,  cure or prevent any disease or medical condition.  Furthermore, none of  the statements on this website should be construed as making claims  about curing diseases or dispensing medical advice.  Please consult a  physician or another health care provider before trying any nutritional  supplement, making changes in your diet, or doing new exercises,  especially if you are pregnant or have any pre-existing medical  conditions or injuries.


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