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How Much Vitamin A Is Safe During Pregnancy?

how-much-vitamin-a-safe-during-pregnancy

ANSWER:

5,000 IU per day is safe for women during pregnancy.

 

More Info: According to the National Research Council, the amount of vitamin A that is safe for women during pregnancy is 1,000 retinol equivalents/RE or 5,000 IU per day[1].  This is equivalent to 3,300 IU if the vitamin A is in the form of retinol. It is not only during your pregnancy that you should be cautious of you vitamin A intake. Vitamin A in excess of 1,000 RE in the period immediately prior to your pregnancy is toxic to your baby as well[2].

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of the essential vitamins that your body needs in order to function properly. It is specifically important in order to maintain normal eyesight or vision, for gene expression,

for proper reproduction and embryonic development, growth and to maintain a good immune system[3]. A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to night blindness. Vitamin A comes in two forms: retinol and carotene. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for men and women is 8,000 IU per day[4].

Safety of Vitamin A

It must be noted that the average balanced diet already contains 7,000-8,000 IU of vitamin A. Furthermore, over-the-counter supplements containing vitamin A can provide as much as 25,000 IU of vitamin A[5]. Some prescription medications for acne, psoriasis and icthyosis also contain large doses of vitamin A analogs or retinoids[6]. Studies show that taking these supplements and medications while you are pregnant can cause your baby to have congenital defects, as the level of vitamin A in these products are well above the 5,000 IU or 1,000 RE limit that is safe for pregnant women[7].

It is not only medications and supplements containing large doses of vitamin A are dangerous to pregnant women. Food sources that are rich in vitamin A such as liver, cod liver oil and liver sausage are potentially dangerous to pregnant women as well[8]. But vitamin A that is found in fruits and vegetables are generally safe for pregnant women.

 

Resources

[1]“Teratology Society Publications.” Teratology 35 (1987): 269-75. Teratology Society. Teratology Society Publications. Web. 05 July 2011. <http://teratology.org/pubs/vitamina.htm>.

[2]“Teratology Society Publications.” Teratology 35 (1987): 269-75. Teratology Society. Teratology Society Publications. Web. 05 July 2011. <http://teratology.org/pubs/vitamina.htm>.

[3]Panel on Micronutrients, Subcommittees on Upper Reference Levels of Nutrients and of Interpretation and Use of Dietary Reference Intakes, and the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington D.C.: National Academies, 2001. Print.

[4]“Teratology Society Publications.” Teratology 35 (1987): 269-75. Teratology Society. Teratology Society Publications. Web. 05 July 2011. <http://teratology.org/pubs/vitamina.htm>.

[5]“Teratology Society Publications.” Teratology 35 (1987): 269-75. Teratology Society. Teratology Society Publications. Web. 05 July 2011. <http://teratology.org/pubs/vitamina.htm>.

[6]“Teratology Society Publications.” Teratology 35 (1987): 269-75. Teratology Society. Teratology Society Publications. Web. 05 July 2011. <http://teratology.org/pubs/vitamina.htm>.

[7]“Teratology Society Publications.” Teratology 35 (1987): 269-75. Teratology Society. Teratology Society Publications. Web. 05 July 2011. <http://teratology.org/pubs/vitamina.htm>.

[8]“A Healthy Pregnancy.” Bandolier. Oxford University Press. Web. 05 July 2011. <http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/booth/hliving/healpreg.html>.

 

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