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Vitamin A is effective for treating a deficiency, but does vitamin A work for other uses as well? Many studies suggest that the vitamin can treat or prevent a variety of problems in people with vitamin A deficiencies (including measles or malaria), but this does not imply that it is beneficial for those without nutritional deficiencies.

Does Vitamin A Really Work?

Vitamin A is claimed to work for a wide variety of conditions, often with little scientific evidence to back up such claims. This article will address the effectiveness of vitamin A for several uses.

Does It Work for a Vitamin A Deficiency?

As you might guess, taking vitamin A is effective for treating a deficiency. It is also effective for preventing it in people at high risk for such problems. However, it should be noted that vitamin A deficiency is rare in developed countries; most people get plenty of vitamin A from their diet.
You should not self-diagnose and/or self-treat a vitamin A deficiency. Laboratory tests are necessary to diagnose this problem, and many of the symptoms (such as poor night vision) are common in healthy people without any nutritional deficiencies whatsoever. Taking too much vitamin A can be dangerous and may result in vitamin A toxicity.

Does Vitamin A Work for Other Uses?

Some studies suggest that a high dietary intake of vitamin A may decrease the risk of breast cancer or cataracts. However, this does not necessarily mean that taking supplements also provides such benefits. Many studies suggest that vitamin A can treat or prevent a variety of different problems in people with a deficiency, such as malaria, measles, or pregnancy complications. However, these studies do not imply that vitamin A can treat or prevent such problems in people without nutritional deficiencies.
There is little evidence to suggest that vitamin A really works for any other uses. In fact, studies suggest that it does not work for the following uses:
  • Treating anemia
  • Preventing death of fetuses or newborns (when taken by pregnant women)
  • Reducing the transmission of HIV from mother to baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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