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Vitamin A Overdose: Causes & Consequences

written by: vrodbaz • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 7/1/2011

Do you know how much is too much vitamin A? If you are like most people, who may not know the answer to this question, continue reading to find out why you should keep tabs on vitamin A consumption.

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    As the saying goes, “Too much of anything is a bad thing," this is especially true when it comes to understanding how much is too much vitamin A. All of us need to eat a variety of foods to help us meet the daily-recommended requirements for essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrients give the body what it needs to function properly; however, some of us tend to overdo it when it comes to consuming large amounts of food that contain vitamin A.

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    Daily Recommendations

    According to the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), the daily recommended dose of vitamin A for men 18 and over is 900 mcg or 3000 IU. The recommended daily dose for women is 700 mcg or 2,310 IU. If you are interested in finding out how much Vitamin A is consumed daily, you should make sure to include all vitamin A enriched foods and supplements consumed. You should also include all foods and supplements that contain retinol in them, since this is an active form of vitamin A.

    In order to identify whether you are suffering from vitamin A toxicity, refer to the side effects listed below:

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    Too Much of a Good Thing

    Having a solid diet with plenty of vitamin A enriched foods helps the body with a variety of functions; however, too much vitamin A can cause:

    • Birth defects
    • Headaches
    • Vomiting
    • Double vision
    • Loss of hair
    • Abnormalities of bones
    • Damage to the liver
    • Bone fractures
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    There is a reason to believe that too much vitamin A hinders the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This is because retinol, which is a form of vitamin A, interferes with the activity of vitamin D-- vitamin D is the vitamin that helps the body properly absorb calcium.

    An increase in amount of bone fractures has been seen in people who have high amounts of vitamin A or retinol in the body. According to the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that fractures were more common in men with high levels of retinol.

    In order to keep tabs on how much vitamin A you are consuming on a regular basis, refer to the list of foods below.

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    Animal-Based Foods

    There are varieties of healthy foods that provide people with plenty of vitamin A. Foods that contain solid amounts of this essential vitamin are:

    • Liver
    • Fish oil
    • Eggs
    • Fortified milk with vitamin A
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    Natural, Plant Based Foods

    • Yellow and orange colored fruits
    • Dark green, leafy vegetables

    As you can see, there is a variety of foods that you can eat when trying to get your daily dose of vitamin A. The important part, however, is to make sure you stick to the recommended amount of vitamin A in your diet. This way you will feel your very best, will lessen the chance of developing health problems and decrease the likelihood of bone fractures. When you follow these helpful guidelines, you no longer have to worry about how much is too much vitamin A.

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    Sources

    http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/govtregulation/a/VitaminAToxic.htm

    http://www.cnn.com/FOOD/resources/food.for.thought/vitamins.minerals/faqs/vitamins.html#vita

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