While vitamin A is vital for bone development, proper immune system functioning, proper growth, improved vision, reproductive systems and in maintaining healthy epithelial tissues, too much vitamin A can be bad for your health. Vitamin A toxicity can cause many issues with the organs and other health problems.
What Causes Hypervitaminosis A?
When you consume too much vitamin A, you can suffer from hypervitaminosis A. There are typical three ways this can occur.
From diet - Certain foods can contain a high amount of vitamin A. Most animal livers like seal liver and moose liver are toxic in the amount of vitamin A they contain.
From supplements - Taking certain supplements, like cod liver oil, can supply you with a toxic level of vitamin A
From medications - There are certain medical conditions that require a higher dose of vitamin A as part of their treatments. This high dose of vitamin A can cause hypervitaminosis A.
What Are the Symptoms of Hypervitaminosis A?
Hypervitaminosis A can pose a number of symptoms depending on whether it is acute or chronic hypervitaminosis A.
Acute hypervitaminosis symptoms can include:
Pressure to the brain
Chronic hypervitaminosis symptoms can include:
Vision problems or blurred vision
Swelling of bones
Decrease in appetite
Peeling of skin
Cracks at the corner of your mouth
Jaundice or yellowing of the skin
Loss of hair
Infection to the respiratory system
Nausea, vomiting, headaches and rashes are also common symptoms of both acute and chronic vitamin A toxicity.
Children or infants may also exhibit the following symptoms if they have consumed too much vitamin A.
Skull bone softens
The soft spot of the skull, or fontanel, begins to bulge.
Bulging of the eyes
Stop gaining weight
Consuming too much Vitamin A can lead to:
Damage to the liver
Weak bones or osteoporosis
Damage to the kidneys
How to Treat and Prevent Hypervitaminosis A
Treating hypervitaminosis A is as simple as stopping the intake of vitamin A. Most individuals who suffer from hypervitaminosis A tend to recover fully in just a few weeks.
Preventing hypervitaminosis A is just as simple as treating it. You want to be careful of how much vitamin you are taking on a daily basis and not exceed the recommended vitamin A dietary standard. The US Institute of Medicine Daily Tolerable Upper Level clearly states the suggested daily recommendation of vitamin A to avoid vitamin A toxicity as listed below. This vitamin A dosage is based on natural retinol esters and synthetic forms of vitamin A. It is important to stay below the daily recommendation because vitamin A has one of the shortest margins for under and over values of intake.
Recommended Intake of Vitamin A
Infants from birth to 12 months should take no more than 600 micrograms a day.
Children from the age of 1 to 3 years old should also consume no more than 600 micrograms of vitamin A a day.
Children from the age of 4 to 8 years old should consume no more than 900 micrograms of vitamin A a day.
Males and females from the ages 9 to 13 should consume no more than 1700 micrograms a day of vitamin A.
Males and females from the ages 14 to 18 should consume no more than 2800 micrograms of vitamin A a day.
Males and females from the age 19 and up should consume no more than 3000 micrograms of vitamin A on a daily basis.
If you are pregnant and under the age of 19, the daily recommendation of vitamin A is no more than 2800 micrograms; this is also the suggested value when you are breastfeeding and under the age of 19.
Women who are over the age of 19 should take no more than 3000 micrograms of vitamin A while pregnant to avoid vitamin A toxicity. If also breastfeeding and over the age of 19, you should also consume no more than 3000 micrograms of vitamin A.