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Why You Should Not Take a Vitamin A Supplement

Vitamin A: A Complex Relationship with Skin Health

Vitamin A is a non-keratinizing vitamin, meaning it doesn't directly contribute to keratinization (a process that can lead to skin problems). Interestingly, both too little or too much vitamin A can negatively impact your skin's health, both inside and out.

Vitamin A's Importance (and Risks)

Vitamin A plays a crucial role in immune function. Research suggests a link between vitamin A deficiency and autoimmune conditions like Graves' and Hashimoto's diseases. It also helps your body absorb iodine.

Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency:

  • Poor night vision

  • Blindness

  • Dry eyes

  • Frequent infections (compromised immunity)

  • Skin problems

  • Bone development issues

Signs of Vitamin A Excess:

  • Abnormal bone growth

  • Dry lips and skin

  • Double vision

  • Hair loss (alopecia)

  • Oily or peeling skin

  • Heart valve calcification

  • Elevated blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia)

  • Increased intracranial pressure

Important Notes:

  • Vitamin A toxicity from food sources is rare. However, synthetic vitamin A supplements can increase your risk, and may be linked to a higher risk of lung cancer.

  • Accutane, a synthetic form of vitamin A, carries serious potential side effects.

The Best Approach:

Focus on getting your vitamin A from natural food sources or food-based supplements.

Foods High in Vitamin A (Retinol):

  • Cod liver oil

  • Egg yolks

  • Grass-fed butter and cheese

  • Liver

Beta Carotene:

Beta carotene, found in foods like carrots and spinach, is a precursor to vitamin A. However, relying on it exclusively or having liver/gallbladder issues could lead to vitamin A deficiency. 

Last updated: Mar 05, 2024 15:01 PM