Jump to content

Vitamin A overdose?


Recommended Posts

Has anyone had a problem on Whole30 with too much Vitamin A?

I have to track my food due to medical reasons and my doc was horrified when he saw how much Vitamin A I was getting on W30--close to 1100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Since it is fat soluble, he said it stays in the body and can lead to toxicity rather quickly. Am I the last to know this is a thing?

According to the NIH, apparently the upper limit is around 400% before medical problems are said to arise. love sweet potatoes, kale, spinach and squash--all 3-5 times the RDA in just one serving of any of those. I was having 1-2 per meal sometimes. Veggies are packed with Vitamin A so this plan seems to naturally lend itself to higher levels of vitamin A.

I know W30 isn't about focusing on this kind of nutritional granularity but, more generally, has anyone had issues with chronic Vitamin A toxicity?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a good overview below. I don't think you have anything to worry about.


Beta-carotene Overview

Beta-carotene is a pigment found in plants that gives them their color. The name beta-carotene is derived from the Latin name for carrot. It gives yellow and orange fruits and vegetables their rich hues. Beta-carotene is also used to color foods such as margarine.

In the body, beta-carotene is changed into vitamin A (retinol). We need vitamin A for good vision and eye health, for a strong immune system, and for healthy skin and mucous membranes. Taking big doses of vitamin A can be toxic, but your body only converts as much vitamin A from beta-carotene as it needs. That means beta-carotene is considered a safe source of vitamin A. However, too much beta-carotene can be dangerous for people who smoke. (Getting high amounts of either vitamin A or beta-carotene from food -- not from supplements -- is safe.)

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant. It protects the body from damaging molecules called free radicals. Free radicals damage cells through a process known as oxidation. Over time, this damage can lead to a number of chronic illnesses. There is good evidence that eating more antioxidants foods helps boost your immune system, protect against free radicals, and may lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. But the issue is a little more complicated when it comes to taking antioxidant supplements.

Source: Beta-carotene | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/betacarotene#ixzz2j1NV4Aps
University of Maryland Medical Center
Follow us: @UMMC on Twitter | MedCenter on Facebook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What Jillian said. The link below is from Chris Kresser's Healthy Baby Code, but it backs up what Jillian posted and applies to adults, as well. If you were getting the vitamin A from liver that would be a different story than vitamin A from beta carotene(ie, veggie source). You definitely can get Vitamin A toxicity (too much cod liver oil or beef liver) but not likely from vegetable sources due to the conversion factor.


Edited to say: It is unfortunate that our doctors do not understand the difference.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

I know a little about Vitamin A toxicity because I suffered with it several times during the 1970s when I decided to get healthy by taking vitamins. Every time I took the vitamin A pills I bought at the health food store, I got nausea and felt sick for most of a day. It took me about 4 trials before I figured out that I felt fine taking everything except the Vitamin A - that made me sick every time. I don't remember the dose I was taking after all these years, but it was high. 


Fast forward to today. I sometimes eat kale at three meals per day. And lots of it because I wilt kale to eat it, which makes it more compact. And I have gone through phases where I ate 2 sweet potatoes per day. And lots of other foods in high quantities that your doctor may be worrying about. And guess what? No nausea, no feeling sick. In fact, I have been eating high volumes of the foods you mentioned for almost 4 years and I am healthier today than I was in 2010 when I started. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...