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The Teratology Society suggests pregnant women restrict Poison/"Vitamin A" MORE than non-pregnant women!

Teratology Society Position Paper:
Recommendations For Vitamin A Use During Pregnancy


It is well known that vitamin A is an essential nutrient for normal cellular function, including reproduction and development. Vitamin A deficiency is a worldwide problem of great magnitude. It should be noted that "vitamin A" is a term used often ambiguously. The total indicated vitamin A content of foods usually includes vitamin A derived from carotene,1 a vitamin A precursor, as well as retinol. Carotene, e.g., beta-carotene, has not been associated with vitamin A toxic effects; accordingly the warning contained in this paper is intended for countries and their citizens that have high-potency vitamin A preparations (as retinol or retinyl esters) readily available. Supplements that contain 25,000 International Units (IU) or more of vitamin A per capsule are available as over-the-counter preparations in many areas. The risk of birth defects owing to synthetic vitamin A analogs has already been documented in humans, and recently the ingestion of excess vitamin A (25,000 IU or more) as retinol/retinyl esters during pregnancy has been associated with some birth defects in a small number of case reports, although it is not known that the relationship is causal. It is with this caution that the following recommendations concerning the use of vitamin A supplements as retinol/retinyl esters during pregnancy are presented to all interested individuals—parents, health care-providers, manufacturers, regulators, legislators, and scientists in our world community.

1. Women in their reproductive years should be informed that the excessive use of vitamin A shortly before and during pregnancy could be harmful to their babies. The National Research Council's recommended dietary allowance for vitamin A during pregnancy is 1,000 retinol equivalents (RE)/day, which is equivalent to 3,300 IU as retinol or 5,000 IU of vitamin A obtained from the typical American diet as a combination of retinol and carotenoids, e.g., beta-carotene. An average balanced diet contains approximately 7,000-8,000 IU of vitamin A derived from different sources. Therefore, women who are at risk for becoming pregnant should consider their dietary intake of vitamin A before taking supplements. The USRDA (recommended daily allowance) established by the Food and Drug Administration is 8,000 IU/day. Supplementation of 8,000 IU vitamin A (as retinol/retinyl esters) per day should be considered the recommended maximum prior to or during pregnancy until further evaluations can be performed in the human population. It is important to determine the type of vitamin A consumed, since beta-carotene has not been associated with vitamin A toxicity in animals or man.

It should be noted that the National Research Council is recommending that pregnant women consume EVEN LESS (about HALF!) Poison/"Vitamin A" than is provided in the "typical American diet".  Do you realize how toxic that they are implying this compound is to the fetus by saying that?  Note how they can't bring themselves to suggest that pregnant women actually RESTRICT their consumption of Poison/"Vitamin A", they simply sort of imply it.  They also suggest limiting Poison/"Vitamin A" supplementation BEFORE pregnancy, due to it being a fat-soluble toxin and sticking around LONG after people stop taking it.

2. Manufacturers of vitamin A (as retinol or retinyl esters) should lower the maximum amount of vitamin A per unit dosage to 5,000-8,000 IU (1,500-2,400 RE) and identify the source of the vitamin A. High dosages of vitamin A as retinol/retinyl esters (25,000 IU or more) are not recommended, since these dosages are not necessary as a nutrient supplement and may be teratogenic at some as yet undetermined dose. With over-the-counter preparations, a major concern is the use of multiple doses daily. The public perception of "one dose is good, two are better" must be addressed by the manufacturers concerning recommended daily intake of that particular preparation. It is suggested that beta-carotene be considered the primary source of these vitamins for women in their reproductive years to reduce risk even further.

"...a major concern is multiple doses daily."

Might Poison/"Vitamin A" toxicity look like any/all of the following, often recommended to pregnant women by various "nutritional organizations":

  • Pre-natal multivitamins containing retinyl palmitate and/or beta-carotene
  • Encouraging the consumption of organ meats, particularly liver
  • Encouraging dairy consumption of any type
  • Encouraging cod liver oil consumption
  • Encouraging the "eat a rainbow" of fruits and vegetables concept
  • Encouraging the consumption of a large amount of other high Poison/"Vitamin A" foods in combination with the above, egg yolks are one example
  • Possibly even taking Vitamin A supplements on top of the above

If the "typical American diet" was nearly TWICE as high in Poison/"Vitamin A" as what is recommended for pregnant women, do you see how the above approaches can only result in DISASTER for the fetus?

3. Labeling of products containing vitamin A supplements (as retinol/retinyl esters) should indicate (a) that consumption of excessive amounts of vitamin A may be hazardous to the embryo/fetus when taken during pregnancy; and (b) that women of childbearing potential should consult with their physicians before consuming these products.

Gosh, you mean a warning label like on CIGARETTES?  Must be pretty toxic!

4. Studies of the reproductive and developmental toxicity of vitamin A are essential and should receive national and international priority. Well-controlled epidemiologic and pharmacologic studies in humans are essential. In addition, studies of dose-response relationships, metabolism/distribution, mechanisms of action for induction of birth defects, and postnatal dysfunction in animals are of critical importance.

Postnatal dysfunction?  You mean like post-partum depression and/or issues with milk supply?  Both currently at epidemic proportions as well?  It's like these things are all connected (or something).  There are no coincidences, remember?

Dr. Garrett Smith, the "Nutrition Detective"
Licensed Naturopathic Physician (NMD) in Arizona
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