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Case Study: "Carrot man: a case of excessive beta-carotene ingestion."

Carrot man: a case of excessive beta-carotene ingestion.

In this case report, the authors describe a 48-year-old male who complained to his primary care physician of abdominal discomfort and yellow/orange skin discoloration.

Note...if you have ever had your skin change to orange-ish or yellow-ish from eating high-carotenoid foods, you absolutely have some level of Poison/"Vitamin A" toxicity until you have depleted it out of your system.

Physical examination was normal except for some mild mid-abdominal discomfort (no observed skin color changes). An abdominal CT scan indicated a colon that was full of stool.

Excessive Poison/"Vitamin A" consumption will often lead to constipation due to increasing the calcium levels in the body (that calcium comes from the bones, actually, not a good thing at all!).

Laboratory studies indicated elevated liver enzymes. Upon further questioning, the patient reported ingesting 6-7 pounds of carrots per week to facilitate his dieting effort.

Just as an informational point, it takes about 1.25 pounds of carrots to make 8 ounces of carrot juice.  If one were drinking 8 ounces of carrot juice daily (doesn't seem like that much, right?), that would require 8.75 pounds of carrots per week.  This is an even larger amount than this person was consuming.

The patient was diagnosed with constipation, hypercarotinemia, and possible vitamin A toxicity. Following the cessation of excessive carrot ingestion, his liver enzymes normalized within 1 month.

I find it amazing that they didn't bother to actually test his Vitamin A levels.  It's like they didn't want to find that particular problem.  Liver enzymes normalizing is good, it does not mean the long-term toxicity is gone, however.

Dr. Garrett Smith, the "Nutrition Detective"
Licensed Naturopathic Physician (NMD) in Arizona, home of the Love Your Liver program
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