Hypervitaminosis A is a disorder in which there is too much vitamin A in the body.
Vitamin A toxicity
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver. Many foods contain vitamin A, including:
Some dietary supplements also contain Vitamin A.
It is rare for vitamin A toxicity to occur just from vitamin A-rich foods. Usually, supplements are involved.
Too much vitamin A can make you sick. Large doses of vitamin A during pregnancy can cause birth defects.
Symptoms may include:
Exams and Tests
These tests may be done if a high vitamin A level is suspected:
Treatment involves simply stopping supplements (or in rare cases, foods) that contain vitamin A.
Most people fully recover.
Complications can include:
Taking too much vitamin A during pregnancy may cause abnormal development in the growing baby. Talk to your health care provider about eating a proper diet while you are pregnant.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if you think that you or your child may have taken too much vitamin A, or you have symptoms of excess vitamin A.
How much vitamin A you need depends on your age and gender. Other factors, such as pregnancy and your overall health, are also important. Ask your provider what amount is best for you.
To avoid hypervitaminosis A, avoid taking more than the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin. Emphasis on vitamin A and beta carotene as anticancer vitamins may contribute to chronic hypervitaminosis A if people take more than is recommended.
Institute of Medicine (US) Panel on Micronutrients. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2001. PMID: 25057538 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25057538.
Mason JB. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 218.
Ross AC, Tan L. Vitamin A deficiencies and excess. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 48.
Review Date: 2/22/2018
Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, board certified in Metabolism/Endocrinology, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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