Here’s a fact that is potentially unknown to the commoners - excessive intake of vitamins can cause vitamin overdose. Read this article about vitamin A toxicity and know for yourself.

Vitamin A Toxicity

You would have definitely heard, (heard may the wrong word here) in fact, you must have had loudspeakers invading your ears, nearly touching your earlobes with constant announcements of “vitamins are good for your health”. The statement still stands true, but with conditions applied. Don’t believe the herd when it says “have as much of vitamins as you can”, because there’s a thing called hypervitaminosis (vitamin toxicity or vitamin overdose) that is covered under the conditions applied, which most of us tend to overlook. Medically, it is referred to a condition of high storage levels of vitamins in the body that leads to toxic symptoms. Vitamin A toxicity or hypervitaminosis A is a condition, which refers to excessive intake of Vitamin A. However, higher supplement intake is believed to be the cause for high toxic levels of vitamins and not dietary resources. In the further part of the article we’ll discuss about the types, causes, symptoms, and treatment of Vitamin A Toxicity.
Hypervitaminosis A
There are two types of hypervitaminosis caused by excessive intake of Vitamin A.
  • Acute hypervitaminosis occurs within a few hours or few days after a large intake of vitamin A.
  • Chronic hypervitaminosis occurs when too much of vitamin A is present in the body for a prolonged period of time.
Causes of Vitamin A Toxicity
In most cases, hypervitaminosis A is caused by excessive intake of vitamin supplements. However, some cases also include consuming large amount of liver of certain animals like polar bear, seal, walrus, shark, and husky. Liver of these animals contain big proportions of vitamin A and are thus, advised against.
Acute Symptoms Of Vitamin A Toxicity
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Headache
  • Blurred Vision
  • Muscle Pains
Chronic Symptoms Of Vitamin A Toxicity
  • Hair Loss
  • Cracked Lips
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Dryness of Mucus Membranes
  • Weight Loss
  • Anemia
  • Bone Fracture
  • Diarrhea
  • Menstrual Abnormalities
Possible complications include high calcium levels in the body and subsequent kidney damage, liver damage, prostate cancer and osteoporosis. A word of caution for the pregnant women out there, higher doses of Vitamin A can lead to birth defects. So, consult a physician and know about the vitamin content of your pregnancy medications.
Prevention and Treatment of Vitamin A Toxicity
To avoid vitamin A toxicity, one simply has to stay within the recommended limit of this vitamin or stop the intake altogether. The person with toxicity should consume vitamin E, zinc, taurine, calcium, and cholesterol either through supplements or dietary products, as they are known to extenuate the toxicity. Depending on the symptoms and their severity, one may have to undergo many laboratory tests like serum calcium, serum electrolytes, liver function tests, complete blood count test, ECG, hand radiography. The treatment and medications would depend upon the test result.
If you have any of the symptoms and are able to recall about recent intake of supplements, consult medical help. And those who are safe - make sure to go easy on the vitamins; lest you end up with vitamin A toxicity.

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