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Your body takes food carotenoids and turns them into ACCUTANE aka isotretinoin aka 13-cis-retinoic acid

The fancifully wrong idea that food-based Poison/"Vitamin A" is somehow magickally different from pharmaceutical retinoic acids is about to be shattered.

13-cis-retinoic acid is also known as isotretinoin and Accutane.  It is known for NASTY effects in the body. Yeah, that link is from a site all about chemotherapy...did I mention that isotretinoin is given as chemotherapy?  Do you associate chemo with healthy things, or with poisons?  I don't know about you, but I don't want to have anything to do with chemo!  It wasn't cancer that finally killed my father, it was the FIFTH round of chemo that did it.  A normal-enough "side effect" of chemo is death!

So "Accutane" is pretty bad.  You must first know that the Accutane 13-cis-retinoic acid is the MOST PREVALENT retinoic acid in human urine under NORMAL (ie. not taking the MEDICATION) conditions! See the following:

“The presence of 13-cis-RA as the predominant form of RA in human urine under normal physiological conditions recently has been reported (18).
[...]
After a meal, the concentration of total RA was 36% greater compared to fasting subjects.
This indicates that the level of RA in human serum is influenced by dietary intake.

I want to make sure this is crystal clear, so I'm going to repeat it.  Your body is making Accutane from any carotenoids or Vitamin A you eat from FOODS, ALL DAY LONG, EVERY DAY.  Also, all retinoic acids--"Accutane" being the most prominent, remember!--went up after a NORMAL meal.

This one is for the liver and organ meat people!  Liver paste retinoids turned into MORE ACCUTANE than a SUPPLEMENT did!

Retinoic Acid Metabolites in Plasma Are Higher after Intake of Liver Paste Compared with a Vitamin A Supplement in Women

The objectives of the present study were to compare the bioavailability of vitamin A from liver paste and from a vitamin A supplement at three nutritionally relevant levels of intake, and to estimate levels of “safe” intake based on concentrations of retinoic acid and its metabolites in plasma after a single dose of vitamin A from liver paste. Women (n = 35; 19–47 y of age) consumed 3.0, 7.5 or 15 mg vitamin A as liver paste or as a vitamin A supplement with a test meal in a randomized design, with a combined crossover (two sources) and parallel approach (three dosages). Retinyl esters and retinoic acid (RA) metabolites were quantified in blood samples at 2–24 h after dosing. The areas under the time-response curves (AUC) were calculated to evaluate responses in plasma vitamin A after intake of liver paste and the vitamin A supplements. For retinyl esters, the AUC was significantly affected by the dosage, but not by the source. The formation of 13-cis-RA, 13-cis-4-oxo-RA, and to a lesser extent all-trans-RA was significantly higher after consumption of liver paste compared with the supplement, especially at higher dosages. Long-term baseline concentrations of retinol were not affected by a single intake of vitamin A. In conclusion, the bioavailability of vitamin A from single doses of liver paste and a vitamin A supplement does not differ, but the plasma concentrations of RA metabolites are higher after intake of liver paste. Thus, pregnant women should indeed limit the intake of vitamin A from liver products.

Let me review those results for you:

  • The supplement and the liver paste both raised the Poison/"Vitamin A" retinyl esters THE SAME AMOUNT.
    • Food and supplement had the same "bioavailability".
  • All of the retinoic acids in the blood, including the 13-cis-retinoic acid Accutane, was HIGHER after the LIVER.
    • Even greater amounts of the retinoic acids, including Accutane, showed up as the liver dose went higher.
  • The scientists said in the end that pregnant women should limit their LIVER intake, precisely because it turns into things like ACCUTANE, a known teratogen (causes birth defects)!

Maybe some of you are familiar with tretinoin, also known as Retin-A, aka all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA).  This is another retinoic acid that is sold as a pharmaceutical.  Here's a study showing that humans turn food carotenoids into Retin-A!

Modulation of plasma all-trans retinoic acid concentrations by the consumption of carotenoid-rich vegetables.

This study shows that consumption of carrot juice containing high concentrations of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid beta-carotene results in [...] strong, significantly increased (almost double, from 1.2 +/- 0.3 to 2.0 +/- 0.31 ng/mL) plasma concentrations of ATRA...
[...]
Our study clearly shows that consumption of vegetables rich in beta-carotene positively influences human ATRA plasma levels. To discover the biological significance of these increased ATRA plasma levels, further experiments examining various ATRA-responsive gene expression and RA-dependent physiologic processes will be necessary. Whether increasing beta--carotene intake by means of high-dose supplements or by increasing consumption of vegetables with high beta-carotene content is beneficial or detrimental to human health requires more detailed studies.

That Vitamin A in your multivitamin, prenatal, retinol cream, fortified dairy or alternative milk?  That turns into Accutane and Retin-A too!

Circulating Endogenous Retinoic Acid Concentrations among Participants Enrolled in a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial of Retinyl Palmitate

Our investigation was conducted to determine whether vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) supplementation significantly increases circulating RA concentrations of all-trans-, 9-cis-, and 13-cis-RA. [...] Based on an intention-to-treat analysis, results obtained using linear mixed models showed that supplementation with retinyl palmitate statistically significantly increased concentrations of all three RA isomers from baseline levels. This study suggests that supplementation with retinyl palmitate is an effective means to increase circulating all-trans, 9-cis-, and 13-cis-RA concentrations among humans.

Vitamin A supplementation increases levels of retinoic acid compounds in human plasma: possible implications for teratogenesis

The concentrations of retinoic acid compounds were monitored by a newly developed highly sensitive HPLC procedure in plasma of six volunteers who received 833 IU vitamin A per kg body weight per day during a 20-day period. There was a significant increase of alltrans-retinoic acid (two-fold), 13-cis-retinoic acid (7-fold) and 13-cis-4-oxoretinoic acid (5-fold) over endogenous plasma levels of these retinoids. The same compounds had previously been found after treatment with the teratogenic drug isotretinoin (Roaccutan, Accutane). Our results raise the possibility that high vitamin A intake may carry a teratogenic risk attributable to increased levels of retinoic acid compounds generated from retinol by metabolic processes.

To sum up, there is no valid scientific argument to state that the actual retinoic acids that are made from food, are any different from the retinoic acids that are in pharmaceutical pills.  Based on the doses and concentrations, they will all cause the SAME PROBLEMS.

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