Retinol is a form of vitamin A, an essential nutrient that is needed for vision, immune function, and cell growth. When you have too much retinol in your blood, it becomes toxic and causes side effects.
In this article, we will look the effects of high retinol in the blood, it’s causes, symptoms, and treatment.
How Retinol Works In The Body
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Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in two primary forms: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A carotenoids.
The body can convert provitamin A carotenoids into retinol, which is the most active and usable form of vitamin A in the body.
Vitamin A is good for the eyes and skin, promotes the immune system’s function, supports growth, and maintains mucous membranes.
What is Retinol Toxicity?
Retinol toxicity in the blood, also known as hypervitaminosis A occurs when the body has too much retinol. It is caused by several factors, including:
- Excessive intake of vitamin A supplements
- Ingestion of isotretinoin
- Eating large amounts of vitamin A-rich foods
What are the symptoms of retinol toxicity?
When retinol is taken in excess amounts, it can build up in the body overtime. Here are the symptoms of retinol toxicity in the blood:
- Poor eyesight
- Dry skin
- Dry lips
- Joint pain
- Bone pain
Pregnant women who consume high doses of vitamin A may be at risk of birth defects in their offspring.
Diagnosis of Retinol Toxicity
This can be done through physical examination, medical history, and blood tests.
Blood tests determines the level of retinol in the blood and confirms the diagnosis of retinol toxicity.
The normal range for retinol levels in the blood is usually between 30 to 80 µg/dL in adults.
Treatment of Retinol Toxicity
To treat retinol toxicity, stop taking vitamin A supplements and don’t eat too much vitamin A-rich foods.
In severe cases, cholestyramine may be given to bind to the excess retinol in the body to prevent further absorption.
Cholestyramine is a bile acid sequestrant class of drugs that binds to bile acids in the intestine, preventing their reabsorption and reducing the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like retinol. It can also be used to lower high cholesterol in people.
Intravenous fluids and electrolyte replacement may also help maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance.
Prevention of Retinol Toxicity
To prevent retinol toxicity, you should follow the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.
Below are the RDI guidelines for retinol according to the U.S national academy of medicine:
- Infants 0-6 months: 400 mcg
- Infants 7-12 months: 500 mcg
- Children 1-3 years: 300 mcg
- Children 4-8 years: 400 mcg
- Children 9-13 years: 600 mcg
- Males 14+ years: 900 mcg
- Females 14+ years: 700 mcg
- Pregnant women: 770-1300 mcg
- Lactating moms: 1300-1900 mcg
When taking retinol supplement stick to the recommended dosage and don’t forget to consult your doctor first before you start.
Conclusion: Are you having too much retinol in your blood?
High amounts of retinol in the blood can be harmful to the body if not treated.
To prevent this condition, limit the consumption of vitamin A-rich foods, and make sure you follow the recommended daily intake.
Before you start taking retinol supplement, see a doctor first for advice, and if you suspect retinol toxicity, go for treatment.