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Thread: Uh, Vitamin A? page

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    echoyjeff222's Avatar
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    Uh, Vitamin A?

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    I've been eating more canned pumpkin and sweet potatoes lately, and I just found out that too much Vitamin A can be toxic ... I just looked up the upper intake level, and supposedly I get more than that simply from one sweet potato or some pumpkin. I'm kind of concerned ... or is it okay with that high of an amount as long as it's coming from natural foods, not a supplement?
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    peril's Avatar
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    Don't confuse retinol with beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is present in many foods, is a precursor to retinal and can safely be eaten in large quantity. Retinol is not so prevalent and is toxic at high levels. The body will metabolise beta-carotene to retinol as it requires.

    So you just have to make sure you don't eat too much retinol. Retinol is chiefly found in liver and supplements
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    echoyjeff222's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peril View Post
    Don't confuse retinol with beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is present in many foods, is a precursor to retinal and can safely be eaten in large quantity. Retinol is not so prevalent and is toxic at high levels. The body will metabolise beta-carotene to retinol as it requires.

    So you just have to make sure you don't eat too much retinol. Retinol is chiefly found in liver and supplements
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    Soil To Sustenance's Avatar
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    The same groups that tell us that 2000 IU of vitamin D is the UL say that 10,000 IU of A is the max we should be getting. Why is it that A is so bad/dangerous and D is so helpful and good?

    That said, I think the conversion rate from the carotenes in sweet potatoes and pumpkins is a fraction of the actual vitamin A that is eventually produced from these foods in your body. I would not be concerned at all.

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    JEL62's Avatar
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    Yes, as peril stated the beta-carotene in plant foods is non-toxic and will only be converted to retinol in the body as needed. It is the pre-formed Vitamin A in animal foods and supplements that the upper tolerable limit applies to. About the worst thing that can happen from consuming too much beta-carotene is that your skin turns yellow/orangish but even that is not toxic and you'd have to eat a whole lot of sweet potatoes to get there!

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    Just don't eat your pets in one sitting and you should be okay (not doctor's advice):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xavier_Mertz
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    Acteon's Avatar
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    Chinese cabbage can be toxic if you eat it in large quantity, so can bear meat.

    Beta Carotene is safer however if you go crazy with carrot juice it can also be toxic.

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    And whatever you do, if you find a dead Polar Bear do NOT snack on it's liver, there's enough Vit A to kill you stone dead.

    It's true I remember it from school ;-)

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    Acteon's Avatar
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    If you are one of these people who only eat raw foods and decide to eat bear meat, better make sure the bear is dead before snacking...

    Attempting to eat live bear can have side effects that include death, decapitation, dismemberment, excessive bleeding and an increase of adrenalin production. If you experience any of these symptoms, quickly excuse yourself from the Bear's company and contact your doctor.

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    Why is it that A is so bad/dangerous and D is so helpful and good?
    Both are necessary. However, it makes physiological sense that we would need more D than A. We evolved getting plenty of D from the sun (~ 10,000 IUs per "dose") and eating liver occasionally.

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