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Case Study, example of stored Poison/"Vitamin A" dumping into the system: "Protracted Hypervitaminosis A Following Long-term, Low-Level Intake"

Note that this paper was published in 1982, and the authors were warning about future toxicity problems worsening even back then.

Protracted Hypervitaminosis A Following Long-term, Low-Level Intake(full PDF attached below)

LITERATURE reports of hypervitaminosis A in children and adults are not uncommon. Bauernfeind 1 has compiled a list of 579 cases of acute or chronic hypervitaminosis A. The occurrence of vitamin A toxicity may be greater than suspected, as some cases may be misdiagnosed as idiopathic benign intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri). Infants and children are far more sensitive to high intakes of the vitamin than are adults. Chronic symptoms of the disorder are seen with intakes from about 2,500 to 50,000 IU/kg of body weight, with more sensitivity shown by infants. 1

"Not uncommon...".
"...compiled a list of 579 cases".
"The occurrence of Vitamin A toxicity may be greater than suspected..."
"...some cases may be misdiagnosed..."
"Infants and children are much more sensitive to high intakes than adults."

The authors were noticing a BIG PROBLEM was showing up in 1982.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Glyphosate/Roundup--which inhibits the breakdown of Poison/"Vitamin A" thus increasing the risk/rate of toxic buildup--was first released commercially in 1974.  The authors are noting new hypervitaminosis A problem seems to be showing up in the literature with increasing frequency.  There are NO coincidences.

Also, if you have paid attention to other posts on this blog-forum, you will already know that chronic hypervitaminosis A in today's world happens at MUCH, MUCH lower intakes than what they said above.

What I'm about to show you is how the "dumping" cycles of Poison/"Vitamin A" from the tissues they were stored in, and how their subsequent breakdown into retinoic acid (the nastiest, most damaging form of Poison/"Vitamin A") can actually WORSEN how a person feels for a period of time during the Poison/"Vitamin A" detox process.  This is an observed phenomenon, both in my practice and the literature.  Also, I will show how removing certain specific nutrients that were protective against Poison/"Vitamin A" is part of how he finally (and quickly) got so bad he went to see the doctors in the first place.

We present an unusual case of hypervitaminosis A in which the level of intake was low (ten times the recommended daily allowance), but the severity and duration of the symptoms and elevation of serum retinol binding protein were prolonged.

From what I see in the people I help, this case is NOT unusual.  This person's intake was NOT low.  Their recovery process looks like things I observe and deal with in clients every day.  It should make sense that the worse the toxicity of the person, the worse their detox symptoms will manifest as.

Also, glyphosate was in commercial use at the time (released in 1974, this paper is from 1982) and caused (and is causing) hypervitaminosis A to show up in people at lower and lower doses, since they can't get rid of it well any longer.  Maybe the boy's family used it in their yard as a weed-killer, who knows?

Report of a Case
A 16-year-old boy complained of bifrontal headache associated with nausea for five to eight days, which had worsened up to the time of admission. He had taken 50,000 units of fat-soluble vitamin A for 2 1/2 years as a form of self-treatment for acne but had stopped two weeks before admission. He had also been taking unknown amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B complex, and vitamin E but had stopped taking these vitamins several weeks before admission.

This part is very important, as it demonstrates the power of specific nutrients to protect the body against the damaging oxidative effects of excess retinoic acid in the system.

Here is the timeline I gathered from the above:

  1. The boy was taking 50,000 IU Vitamin A via supplement per day for 2 1/2 years.  Wow.  Note that this does NOT include dietary intake.
  2. Two weeks before he went to the hospital, he STOPPED the Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and his B-complex.
  3. 5-8 days before he went to the hospital, he had worsened to the point of getting a headache with nausea.

Important points.

He continued to worsen even after stopping the Vitamin A supplement.  This is a theme throughout the rest of this paper.

Vitamin C and Vitamin E are extremely protective against the damaging effects of Poison/"Vitamin A", especially when they are started before the toxicity becomes too bad.

So, he had stopped the poison intake, as well as stopping the protective nutrients he was on.  He progressively got worse.  Later on, you'll see the cycles of dumping in the author's own words.

This is why there is a whole section of the Poison/"Vitamin A" Detox Program and the "B.A.D.-A.G." protocol within it that is devoted to a category of "D - Defense".  This is to ensure that the body has enough protective nutrients to not suffer too much through the dumping cycles.  Vitamin C and Vitamin E are a couple of the biggest players in that regard.  No one completely escapes the detox symptoms though.  Retinoic acid is just THAT NASTY.

There was no known history of tetracycline or prior steroid ingestion nor exposure to lead compounds. On admission, he had bilateral mild papilledema, a slightly stiff neck, dry skin, and fissuring [splitting or cracking] of his lips. A computed tomographic (CT) scan of his head with and without contrast and skull x-ray films were normal. The first lumbar puncture (about 14 days after the last vitamin A supplement) showed increased intracranial pressure (Table) [see attached PDF to see table]. The electrolyte, BUN, SGPT, and alkaline phosphatase levels were normal, as were the complete blood cell (CBC) count and urinalysis findings.

This kid feels like hot garbage.  Yet, according to modern medicine:

  • CT scan is all normal
  • Skull x-ray is all normal
  • Urine tests all normal
  • Most of his "standard" blood tests are all normal
  • First intracranial pressure values are 390 (opening) and 160 (closing).  Keep those numbers in mind.

This kid is seriously poisoned and nearly everything is coming back "all normal".  If he didn't bring up the Vitamin A supplement with the doctors, they probably wouldn't have known what to do with him!

The SGOT level was 91 IU/L, approximately twice normal.

SGOT is a liver enzyme.  The liver is what takes the most damage from Poison/"Vitamin A".  If you have unexplained elevated liver enzymes, I might have an explanation for you.

After the lumbar puncture, the patient felt much improved with resolution of most of his headache and nausea.

Taking out some cerebrospinal fluid (which connects to the CSF chambers in the head) helped relieve the pressure and the symptoms,   It probably also took out some Poison/"Vitamin A" with it because CSF Vitamin A levels are elevated in those with idiopathic intracranial hypertension, which is exactly what this kid had.  Doing the blood tests ALSO took out some Poison/"Vitamin A".  This is very simply, a mechanical removal of Poison/"Vitamin A" from the system.  It obviously relieved the pressure in his skull, and helped him systemically too.

The theory I operate on here based on my client observations and research like this is that when a significant amount of Poison/"Vitamin A" leaves the system quickly (blood draws and CSF removal would do that), then symptoms often improve for a short while...and often come back even STRONGER.  It seems that the body doesn't like having that "vacuum" and releases more Poison/"Vitamin A" from the tissues to fill it up quickly.  You may have heard the saying, "Nature abhors a vacuum."  In its rush to "fill the vacuum", the body may overshoot and symptoms get worse.  Watch what happens next.

The total serum vitamin A level was greatly elevated (Table).

First measured total serum vitamin A value was 339 mcg/dL, with the normal range said to be 38-45 mcg/dL.   Ten times higher than he should be.

The patient was discharged on the third hospital day. Two to three days later the headache, nausea, and vomiting recurred, and abdominal and back pain developed. An examination in the emergency room six days after his first hospital discharge showed unchanged papilledema and increased fissuring of his lips. A lumbar puncture showed mildly increased intracranial pressure.

He is now WORSE than he was when he first went in to the hospital!  This can be NORMAL if people don't DEFEND themselves properly.  It's a poison coming in, and it's an even worse poison when it comes out (because it comes out much faster than it went in).  Remember, there is no more extra Vitamin C or Vitamin E coming in to protect him.

He remained at home for five more days. During this time a home visit and further questioning disclosed no further vitamin ingestion. He was then readmitted to the hospital (28 days after the last vitamin A supplement) because of increasing headaches, a stiff neck, lethargy, vomiting, hematemesis, and pain in his back, abdomen, and joints. He had lost 6.75 kg in three weeks.

He's even WORSE now, based on his symptoms.

His electrolyte level, liver chemistry test results, CBC count, and urinalysis findings were all normal.

Note that his LIVER tests are all back to normal, yet he feels even worse.  His liver has less Poison/"Vitamin A" in it...but his body is suffering through the process of getting rid of it.  This is what we see in people.  Even while they are having detox cycles, one at a time, things improve.

His sedimentation rate was 25 mm/hr, and papilledema, dry skin, and lip fissuring were much worse. The serum retinyl ester, retinol-binding protein, and retinol levels were all elevated (Table).

This is 28 days after he stopped the Vitamin A supplement.

  • Total serum Vitamin A = 593 mcg/dL (normal 38-45 mcg/dL) TOXIC
  • Serum retinol = 120 mcg/dL (normal 50-100 mcg/dL) TOXIC
  • Serum retinyl esters = 473 mcg/dL (used in the ratio calculation below)
  • % retinyl esters of total serum VA = (473 / 593) * 100% = ~80% (normal is less than 5%!!!) TOXIC

This is 28 days after stopping the supplements, and he is still VA toxic in every. single. way.  No, detoxing yourself from Poison/"Vitamin A" is not a week-long cleanse, sorry!

He was treated intravenously with 15 g of mannitol and 24 mg of dexamethasone during a 24-hour period. No further mannitol was administered while dexamethasone was gradually withdrawn over several weeks. A repeated CT scan was normal. Following the induced diuresis, his headache and stiff neck lessened. Twelve hours later, a lumbar puncture showed increased intracranial pressure. Draining of fluid during the puncture was associated with dramatic relief of the headache and nausea.

So they diurese him (using diuretics to get his body to dump excess fluid, to relieve the pressure), then 12 hours later it is all back again.  Did this create a "vacuum" too?

On day 29 of being off the supplement, his intracranial pressure was 420 (opening) and 180 (closing). On Day 14, he was only 390 and 160.  Demonstrably worse, pressure-wise.

See the "vacuum" concept and dumping cycles noted above.

He fluctuated between a moderately ill state with abdominal pain and mild headache to severely ill with marked abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and severe headaches during the next four days. Four days after admission lumbar puncture was repeated, showing notably increased intracranial pressure.

If detox "cycles" were real, doesn't the above sound exactly like what they would look like?  Periods of doing better, interspersed with periods of doing worse.  There's really no other good explanation.

From that point his course was one of slow improvement. His maximum weight loss was 11.3 kg. Two months after discharge, the patient had regained his normal weight of 65 kg and was fully active. His dry skin and lip fissuring resolved in approximately six weeks, and the abdominal and arthralgic pain resolved in approximately three weeks.

Again, note what I said previously.  As the total Poison/"Vitamin A" in the system is lowered by the body's natural detoxification mechanisms, there is slow improvement, and one symptom disappears after another, after another, etc.

Headache, nausea, stiff neck, anorexia, lip fissuring, elevated intracranial pressure, papilledema, and elevated SGOT and blood vitamin A levels are all common to hypervitaminosis A. From 1970 to 1972, numerous hypervitaminosis A cases were reported, many traceable to high intake of the vitamin prescribed as therapy for dermatological disorders or to self-medication by the subject for acne. 1

Poison/"Vitamin A" toxicity issues have been around forever.  Certain factors have made the problem inconceivably worse (glyphosate being the main one, and I have a whole blog-forum section devoted to other ones).  Note that the above statement is talking about 1970-1972, before glyphosate was released.  Then see the next part below...

This case has several unusual features. The clinical symptoms failed to improve within days of removal of the vitamin supplement from the diet. Intracranial pressure remained high about 37 days after cessation of supplements, and plasma retinol binding protein level elevation was even more prolonged. In contrast, Smith and Goodman 2 reported that concentrations of plasma retinol binding protein were normal at the times when their patients were experiencing a toxic state.

What was introduced in 1974 that might have caused "unusual" problems with the body's normal detoxification mechanisms of Poison/"Vitamin A", causing toxicity to resolve itself much more slowly?  That would be glyphosate/Roundup's introduction.  Remember, this paper was published in 1982.

Daily consumption of 50,000 IU of vitamin A by an adolescent would generally be considered safe.

Haha, NO.

Literature reports of chronic hypervitaminosis A in teenagers have generally involved ingestion of 100,000 to 300,000 IU or more daily.

Of course, that dose would get anyone toxic!  Teenagers can handle more because of their age...their livers are simply not as chronically full of Poison/"Vitamin A" as adults yet!

Krause 3 reported a case of a 79-year-old man who had consumed 50,000 IU of vitamin A daily for 17 years without any signs or symptoms of hypervitaminosis A developing. At an autopsy immediately after death, liver vitamin A concentration was 12,960 IU/g, or a total of 5.4 g of retinol stored in his liver. In the current case, however, the same level had a toxic effect.

The Krause paper came out in 1965.  Do you see the glyphosate timing connection again?  Toxic doses BEFORE glyphosate are LESS than the toxic doses AFTER glyphosate.

Of concern is the fact that only two tablets containing 25,000 IU of vitamin A each were reported by the patient and family to have been ingested each day. Such high-potency tablets may contribute to vitamin A toxic reactions in susceptible persons and should be prescribed with care.

The susceptibility of an individual to Poison/"Vitamin A" toxicity is individual, and is dependent on MANY different things.  This is true of all toxicities.

Herbert 4 has elaborated on the dangers of overconsumption of vitamin A and other nutrients.

I think Dr./Mr. Herbert and I would have gotten along.  His book (the reference) is called "Nutrition Cultism: Facts and Fictions".

We fear that an increase in cases of hypervitaminosis A may again occur owing to recent reports of profound beneficial effects of synthetic vitamin A compounds (retinoids) with various dermatologic disorders of the skin and with certain types of cancer. 5

Their fear has come true.  Good thing we're figuring out how to fix it and then not allow it to happen again!

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