Vitamin A Risks

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Question

What are the risks of taking vitamin A?

Answer

If you have liver disease and or drink a lot of alcohol, vitamin A could damage your liver. Smokers who drink alcohol and take beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A) can have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.

What does vitamin A interact with?

Vitamin A can interact with numerous other medications to increase the potential of toxicity, high brain pressure (intracranial hypertension), and bleeding, or to lower treatment effects. If you are taking birth control pills; Targretin® (bexarotene); Soriatane® (acitretin); Accutane®, Amnesteem®, Claravis®, Sotret® (isotretinoin); Questran®, Prevalite® (cholestyramin); Atralin®, Avita®, Renova®, Retin-A®, Tretin-X®(tretinoin); Periostat®, Vibramycin® (doxycycline); Minocin® (minocycline); Sumycin® (tetracycline); Alli®, Xenical® (orlistat) or a blood thinners, such as Coumadin®, Jantoven® (warfarin) consult with your healthcare professional prior to taking Vitamin A.

Is vitamin A safe for pregnant women or nursing mothers?

Both too little and too much vitamin A can cause serious problems for pregnant women and their unborn children. It is known that the mother taking too much vitamin A can cause various birth defects in the fetus. But this is true only for preformed vitamin A, such as retinol, and not true of pro-vitamin A, such as beta-carotene. This is why beta-carotene is considered a safer type of vitamin A for pregnant women. Vitamin A travels through breast milk, but it is unclear if the child is endangered when the mother uses too much vitamin A. If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are nursing, consult your doctor before taking vitamin A.

What happens if I overdose on vitamin A?

Seek immediate medical attention. Vitamin A overdose can result in severe or life-threatening side effects. An overdose can happen from taking one massive dose or from repeatedly taking high doses. Overdose symptoms can include nausea or vomiting; hair loss; menstrual period changes; tiredness; pain behind the eyes; dark urine; appetite loss; peeling skin; dizziness or drowsiness; vision changes; peeling skin or cracked skin around the mouth; bone or joint pain; severe stomach pain; or jaundice (yellow skin or eyes).

Shop beta carotene supplements at Walgreens.com

Shop vitamin A supplements at Walgreens.com

See vitamin A test in our Health Encyclopedia

See vitamin A toxicity in our Health Encyclopedia

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