Vitamin A

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Vitamin A
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Documented deficiency (due to malabsorption or insufficient dietary intake)
+3 (Strong Evidence)
Post-operative wound healing
+1 (Slight Evidence)

PRO

  • Vitamin A plays an important role in wound healing and is essential for normal skin growth and regeneration. The presence of sufficient vitamin A appears to strengthen scar tissue.
  • Vitamin A has been used to counteract the destructive effects of steroids on wound healing. A dose of Vitamin A 20,000 IU by mouth daily for 7 days following surgery has been used to enhance wound healing after lung transplants. Treatment with high-dose vitamin A should be conducted only under physician supervision.
  • Vitamin A has been used to help improve gastrointestinal tract dysfunction in malnourished patients undergoing surgery.
  • The strong benefit of Vitamin A for 1) reducing childhood mortality and 2) treating dry eyes and other vision problems is seen mainly in poor countries, where Vitamin A deficiencies are much more common.

CON

  • The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 3,000 IU of preformed Vitamin A is easily achieved with 3 or more servings of vegetables per day, so do not take vitamin A unless you have a documented deficiency. If you do take a multivitamin, limit your options to those with less than 5,000 IU per day (or 2,500 IU twice a day). Remember that many supplements contain vitamin A, so you must also add those to your daily total. Owing to high doses in many multivitamins and supplements, Americans are much more likely to suffer from Vitamin A overload than deficiency.
  • Chronic low-grade Vitamin A toxicity can cause dry, itchy, scaling, or cracking skin; dry lips; loss of appetite; headache; psychiatric symptoms; brain swelling; bone and joint pain; osteoporosis and even hip fractures. Severe Vitamin A toxicity leads to eye damage, highly elevated calcium levels, and liver damage.
  • Certain specific medications for psoriasis, lymphoma, and acne are Vitamin-A based formulations. To reduce the risk of overdose, individuals taking medications for these diagnoses must be extremely cautious about using any supplements that might contain Vitamin A.

* *ADVISORY* *
The RDA of 3,000 IU of preformed Vitamin A is easily achieved with 3 or more servings of vegetables per day, so do not take vitamin A unless you have a documented deficiency. Observe the recommended daily allowance very carefully. Avoid inadvertent overdosing by including all possible sources if you are taking multiple supplements concurrently. Vitamin A toxicity can lead to brain swelling, psychiatric symptoms, joint and bone pain, liver damage, eye damage and more.

DOSAGE:If you do take a multivitamin, limit your options to those with less than 5,000 IU per day (or 2,500 IU twice a day).

CONCLUSION: If you elect to try Vitamin A, remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.


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