Vitamin A overdose

Taking vitamins is usually a very healthy and wonderful thing for our body. However, too much of anything can often lead to problems. This can definitely be true when it comes to taking vitamins. Either having a deficiency in vitamins or having an overdose of vitamins can both cause serious damage to the body.

Vitamin A is an important nutrient needed by the body to improve vision, bone growth, tissue growth and help keep our immune system strong and healthy. Most people are able to get enough vitamin A by eating a well balanced diet. However when one is unable to eat certain types of foods, getting enough vitamin A may be difficult and therefore taking a supplement may be necessary. When an overdose occurs it is usually due to a person taking too much of a vitamin A supplement. When this happens the body is unable to use all the vitamin A in the appropriate way and side effects may occur.

Side effects of a mild Vitamin A overdose may include blurred vision, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, cracking of the lips and skin and the appearance of yellow or orange skin. When a person has extremely high levels of Vitamin A, they may have what is known as Vitamin A toxicity. The symptoms of Vitamin A toxicity can be more alarming and more severe than an overdose. These can include having an enlarged liver and spleen, suffering from growth retardation, hair loss, brittle nails, muscle and bone pain, vision problems, menstrual irregularity and peeling of the skin. It is also very possible for a severe Vitamin A toxicity to result in a fatal outcome if not treated immediately. Pregnant woman who have taken too much Vitamin A run the risk of having a baby born with significant birth defects, therefore taking more than the recommended amount of Vitamin A while pregnant is very dangerous both for mother and baby.

As soon as Vitamin A overdose or toxicity is suspected, it is important to stop taking any further Vitamin A supplement right away. By stopping the supplements, the body will begin to rid itself of the excess nutrient. If the toxicity has caused a lot of vomiting or diarrhea it may be necessary to get some fluids back into the body through an intravenous method. A trip to the emergency room is necessary if dehydration has become severe or if you are having a hard time breathing. After the Vitamin A levels are restored to a normal state, the side effects of the toxicity will begin to fade over time. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, it could take days or weeks to see results from the lowered levels of Vitamin A in the body.

Make sure that you always read the labels on your vitamins and supplements to ensure you are taking the right amount. If you have questions about the proper dosage make sure to ask a physician or a local pharmacist for their medical advice. Remember, not everyone requires extra Vitamin A. Those who eat a healthy well balanced diet should not need any extra Vitamin A unless prescribed by a doctor. Also before taking any type of supplement you should make sure that it will not have any reaction with other supplements or medications that you may already be taking.

All vitamins serve an important role in the healthy functioning of our bodies but taking supplements should be taken seriously. Serious side effects or even death could be a result of not doing the proper research before beginning a supplemental routine.

Last updated on Jan 30th, 2010 and filed under Vitamins and Minerals. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Vitamin A overdose”

  1. Dave says:

    The effects of chronic vitamin a poisoning can take years to reverse, and the effects on the body can be far more subtle and diverse than the primary ones listed. Been there, nearly killed me.

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