Vitamin A Side Effects

If you take too much vitamin A, side effects could occur. Potential side effects include abdominal pain, blurred vision, drowsiness, and fatigue. Any side effects of this vitamin are potentially serious, as they are signs of excessive intake and toxicity, and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider.

An Overview of Vitamin A Side Effects

Vitamin A can cause significant and serious side effects. Such side effects are most likely to result from an excessive vitamin A intake; normal intakes are unlikely to cause side effects in most people.
 
It should be noted that "preformed" vitamin A (such as retinol and other similar compounds) is much more likely to produce side effects, compared to "provitamin" A sources (such as beta-carotene). The body uses beta-carotene to make retinol, but taking an excess of beta-carotene does not usually increase the level of retinol to dangerous levels. Beta-carotene is not associated with significant toxicity in humans, although it can cause a yellow/orange discoloration of the skin.
 

Serious Side Effects of Vitamin A

All vitamin A side effects should be considered potentially serious, as they are signs of excessive intake and toxicity. These side effects, which should always be reported to your healthcare provider, include but are not limited to:
 
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Headaches
  • A spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Blurred vision
  • Problems with muscle coordination
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Increased sweating
  • Brittle nails
  • Gingivitis
  • Hair loss
  • Decreased menstrual flow
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Weight loss
  • Bulging soft spot (fontanel) in babies
  • Psychiatric problems that mimic severe depression
  • Psychiatric problems that mimic schizophrenia (such as hallucinations or paranoia)
  • Delirium
  • Coma
  • Signs of liver damage, such as yellow eyes or skin (jaundice) or elevated liver enzymes (found using a blood test)
  • Fever
  • Bulging eyes
  • Skin redness, followed by significant peeling of the skin
  • Anemia
  • Slow growth in children
  • Early closure of the growth plates in children's bones
  • Pneumonia
  • Birth defects (if vitamin A is taken during pregnancy)
  • Osteoporosis.
     
 

Vitamin A Information

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