Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate)


The type of vitamin A used at Mymmunity is the highest quality Retinyl Palmitate which unlike Beta Carotene doesn’t require conversion in your body to form Vitamin A

Chemical Name


Immune support

Vitamin A is important for immune function. Retinoic acid is required in maintaining sufficient levels of natural killer cells, and preliminary evidence suggests that retinoic acid might increase the production of cytokines, such as interleukin 1 (IL-1). Additionally, B lymphocyte growth, differentiation, and activation are dependent on retinol. Vitamin A deficiency is associated with increased risk of infectious morbidity and mortality. Some research has linked retinol deficiency to development of cervical neoplasms in women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

Vitamin A deficiency seems to adversely affect fetal immune status. Maternal-fetal transmission of HIV is higher in the presence of low vitamin A status. However, vitamin A supplementation during pregnancy does not appear to affect the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in mothers positive for HIV not currently on anti-retroviral therapy. Other research shows that supplementing pregnant women with vitamin A 10,000 IU daily, starting prior to the administration of the H1N1 influenza vaccination and continuing for 6 months postpartum, increases H1N1 immunity titers in mothers, but not in their infants.

Other uses

Breast cancer. Premenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer who consume high levels of vitamin A in their diet seem to have lower risk of breast cancer. It is not known if taking vitamin A supplements has the same benefit. 
Cataracts. People who consume high amounts of vitamin A in their diet seem to have a lower risk of developing cataracts. 
Measles. Taking vitamin A by mouth seems to reduce the risk of measles complications or death in children with measles and vitamin A deficiency. 
Ability to see in low-light conditions. Taking vitamin A during pregnancy seems to reduce night blindness by 37% in malnourished women. Vitamin A might work better for this condition when taken with zinc. 
White patches inside the mouth that are usually caused by smoking (oral leukoplakia). Research shows that taking vitamin A can help treat precancerous lesions in the mouth. 
Death from any cause. Most experts agree that high-dose vitamin A supplementation reduces the risk of death in children 6-59 months of age who are at risk for vitamin A deficiency. Taking vitamin A does not seem to reduce the risk of death in healthy adults. 
Complications after childbirth. Taking vitamin A, during, and after pregancy reduces diarrhea after giving birth in malnourished women. Taking vitamin A before and during pregnancy also seems to reduce the risk of death by 40% in malnourished women. 
An inherited eye condition that causes poor night vision and loss of side vision (retinitis pigmentosa). Taking vitamin A can slow the progression of an eye disease that causes damage to the retina. 
A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Some research shows that taking vitamin A daily for 2 months can reduce symptoms and help the intestine to heal in adults with ulcerative colitis. 

How it works

Vitamin A is required for the proper development and functioning of our eyes, skin, immune system, and many other parts of our bodies.


When taken by mouth: Vitamin A is LIKELY SAFE for most people in amounts less than 10,000 units (3,000 mcg) daily. Keep in mind that vitamin A is available in two different forms: pre-formed vitamin A and provitamin A. The maximum daily dose of 10,000 units per day relates to only pre-formed vitamin A. Some supplements contain vitamin A in both pre-formed and provitamin A forms. For these supplements, the amount of pre-formed vitamin A should be used to determine if the amount of vitamin A is safe. In some cases, a vitamin A supplement with vitamin A in amounts greater than 10,000 units may still be safe if a portion of the vitamin A is the provitamin A form. For instance, a supplement containing 23,000 units of vitamin A, of which 60% is the provitamin A form, would still be safe. This is because only 40% of the vitamin A content, or 9,200 units, is pre-formed Vitamin A.

Vitamin A is POSSBILY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in doses greater than 10,000 units (3,000 mcg) daily. Some research suggests that higher doses might increase the risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture, particularly in older people. Adults who eat low-fat dairy products, which are fortified with vitamin A, and a lot of fruits and vegetables usually do not need vitamin A supplements or multivitamins that contain vitamin A.

Long-term use of large amounts of vitamin A might cause serious side effects including fatigue, irritability, mental changes, anorexia, stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, mild fever, excessive sweating, and many other side effects. In women who have passed menopause, taking too much vitamin A can increase the risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture.

There is also growing concern that taking high doses of antioxidant supplements such as vitamin A might do more harm than good. Some research shows that taking high doses of vitamin A supplements might increase the chance of death from all causes and possibly other serious side effects.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information available to know if vitamin A is safe or what the side effects might be.

When given as a shot: Vitamin A is LIKELY SAFE when given as a shot into the muscle in amounts less than 10,000 units (3,000 mcg) daily.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Vitamin A is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant or breast-feeding women when taken in recommended amounts of less than 10,000 units (3,000 mcg) of pre-formed vitamin A per day. Larger amounts are POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Vitamin A can cause birth defects. It is especially important for pregnant women to monitor their intake of vitamin A from all sources during the first three months of pregnancy. Forms of vitamin A are found in several foods including animal products, primarily liver, some fortified breakfast cereals, and dietary supplements.

Children: Vitamin A is LIKELY SAFE for children when taken in the recommended amounts. The maximum amounts of vitamin A that are safe for children are based on age:

Less than 2000 units (600 mcg)/day in children up to 3 years old.

Less than 3000 units (900 mcg)/day in children ages 4 to 8 years old.

Less than 5667 units (1700 mcg)/day in children ages 9 to 13 years old.

Less than 9333 units (2800 mcg)/day in children ages 14 to 18 years old.

Vitamin A is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for children when taken by mouth in high doses. When amounts greater than those recommended are taken, side effects can include irritability, sleepiness, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness, headache, vision problems, peeling skin, increased risk of pneumonia and diarrhea, and other problems.

Excessive use of alcohol: Drinking alcohol may increase vitamin A's potentially harmful effects on the liver.

Disorders in which the body does not absorb fat properly: People with conditions that affect fat absorption, such as celiac disease, short gut syndrome, jaundice, cystic fibrosis, pancreatic disease, and cirrhosis of the liver, are not able to absorb vitamin A properly. To improve vitamin A absorption, these people should use vitamin A preparations that are water-soluble.

A type of high cholesterol called "Type V hyperlipoproteinemia": This condition might increase the chance of vitamin A poisoning. Do not take vitamin A if you have this condition.

Intestinal infections: Intestinal infections such as hookworm can reduce how much vitamin A the body absorbs.

Iron deficiency: Iron deficiency might affect the body's ability to breakdown and use vitamin A.

Liver disease: Too much vitamin A might make liver disease worse. Do not take vitamin A if you have liver disease.

Malnutrition: In people with severe protein malnutrition, taking vitamin A might result in having too much vitamin A in the body.

Zinc deficiency: Zinc deficiency might cause symptoms of vitamin A deficiency to occur. Taking a combination of vitamin A and zinc supplements might be necessary to improve this condition.

Interactions with medications

Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Vitamin A can interact with some antibiotics. Taking very large amounts of vitamin A along with some antibiotics can increase the chance of a serious side effect called intracranial hypertension. However, taking normal doses of vitamin A along with tetracyclines does not seem to cause this problem. Do not take large amounts of vitamin A if you are taking antibiotics.

Some of these antibiotics include demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline (Achromycin).

Medications for skin conditions (Retinoids)

Interaction Rating = Major Do not take this combination.

Some medications for skin conditions have vitamin A effects. Taking vitamin A pills and these medications for skin conditions could cause too much vitamin A effects and side effects.

Medications that can harm the liver (Hepatotoxic drugs)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Taking large amounts of vitamin A might harm the liver. Taking large amounts of vitamin A along with medications that might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage. Do not take large amounts of vitamin A if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver.

Some medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), amiodarone (Cordarone), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, others), phenytoin (Dilantin), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Talk to your health provider.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Large amounts of vitamin A can also slow blood clotting. Taking vitamin A along with warfarin (Coumadin) can increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Interactions with Herbs, Supplements, and Foods

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure

Quercetin can slightly lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Taking quercetin along with other herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.Other herbs and supplements that can lower blood pressure include andrographis, casein peptides, cat's claw, coenzyme Q-10, fish oil, L-arginine, lyceum, stinging nettle, theanine, and others.

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar

Quercetin might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Taking quercetin along with other herbs and supplements that can lower blood sugar might cause your blood sugar to go too low.Other herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar include agaricus mushroom, devil's claw, fenugreek, guar gum, Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and others.

Interactions with Foods


Red blood cells need iron to make hemoglobin, the chemical that carries oxygen through the body. Taking vitamin A seems to improve hemoglobin levels in people who have low levels of iron and vitamin A.

Fats and fat-containing foods

Eating fatty foods helps the body absorb vitamin A.


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Alonso, P. L., Smith, T., Schellenberg, J. R., Masanja, H., Mwankusye, S., Urassa, H., Bastos, de Azevedo, I, Chongela, J., Kobero, S., Menendez, C., and . Randomised trial of efficacy of SPf66 vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum malaria in children in southern Tanzania. Lancet 10-29-1994;344(8931):1175-1181.


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Kushi, L. H., Fee, R. M., Sellers, T. A., Zheng, W., and Folsom, A. R. Intake of vitamins A, C, and E and postmenopausal breast cancer. The Iowa Women's Health Study. Am J Epidemiol 7-15-1996;144(2):165-174.


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Van Dooren-Greebe, R. J., Lemmens, J. A., De, Boo T., Hangx, N. M., Kuijpers, A. L., and van de Kerkhof, P. C. Prolonged treatment with oral retinoids in adults: no influence on the frequency and severity of spinal abnormalities. Br.J Dermatol. 1996;134(1):71-76.


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Nosten, F., Luxemburger, C., Kyle, D. E., Ballou, W. R., Wittes, J., Wah, E., Chongsuphajaisiddhi, T., Gordon, D. M., White, N. J., Sadoff, J. C., and Heppner, D. G. Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of SPf66 malaria vaccine in children in northwestern Thailand. Shoklo SPf66 Malaria Vaccine Trial Group. Lancet 9-14-1996;348(9029):701-707.


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Czeizel, A. E. Reduction of urinary tract and cardiovascular defects by periconceptional multivitamin supplementation. Am J Med Genet 3-15-1996;62(2):179-183.


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Thorne, E. G., Lufrano, L., Boateng, F., and Sampson, A. R. Effect of tretinoin emollient cream on photodamaged skin: relationship between clinical improvement and skin irritation. Br J Dermatol 1996;135(4):655-656.


Verhoeven, D. T., Assen, N., Goldbohm, R. A., Dorant, E., van, 't, V, Sturmans, F., Hermus, R. J., and Van den Brandt, P. A. Vitamins C and E, retinol, beta-carotene and dietary fibre in relation to breast cancer risk: a prospective cohort study. Br.J Cancer 1997;75(1):149-155.


Pant, C. R., Pokharel, G. P., Curtale, F., Pokhrel, R. P., Grosse, R. N., Lepkowski, J., Muhilal, Bannister, M., Gorstein, J., Pak-Gorstein, S., Atmarita, and Tilden, R. L. Impact of nutrition education and mega-dose vitamin A supplementation on the health of children in Nepal. Bull World Health Organ 1996;74(5):533-545.


Hogarth, M. B., Marshall, P., Lovat, L. B., Palmer, A. J., Frost, C. G., Fletcher, A. E., Nicholl, C. G., and Bulpitt, C. J. Nutritional supplementation in elderly medical in-patients: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Age Ageing 1996;25(6):453-457.


Buajeeb, W., Kraivaphan, P., and Pobrurksa, C. Efficacy of topical retinoic acid compared with topical fluocinolone acetonide in the treatment of oral lichen planus. Oral Surg.Oral Med.Oral Pathol.Oral Radiol.Endod. 1997;83(1):21-25.


Bahl, R., Bhandari, N., Taneja, S., and Bhan, M. K. The impact of vitamin A supplementation on physical growth of children is dependent on season. Eur J Clin Nutr 1997;51(1):26-29.


Shann, F. Meta-analysis of trials of prophylactic antibiotics for children with measles: inadequate evidence. BMJ 2-1-1997;314(7077):334-336.


Lemnge, M. M., Msangeni, H. A., Ronn, A. M., Salum, F. M., Jakobsen, P. H., Mhina, J. I., Akida, J. A., and Bygbjerg, I. C. Maloprim malaria prophylaxis in children living in a holoendemic village in north-eastern Tanzania. Trans.R.Soc Trop.Med Hyg. 1997;91(1):68-73.


Moon, T. E., Levine, N., Cartmel, B., and Bangert, J. L. Retinoids in prevention of skin cancer. Cancer Lett. 3-19-1997;114(1-2):203-205.


Yu, S. Y., Zhu, Y. J., and Li, W. G. Protective role of selenium against hepatitis B virus and primary liver cancer in Qidong. Biol Trace Elem.Res 1997;56(1):117-124.


Roy, S. K., Islam, A., Molla, A., Akramuzzaman, S. M., Jahan, F., and Fuchs, G. Impact of a single megadose of vitamin A at delivery on breastmilk of mothers and morbidity of their infants. Eur J Clin Nutr 1997;51(5):302-307.


Kennedy, K. A., Stoll, B. J., Ehrenkranz, R. A., Oh, W., Wright, L. L., Stevenson, D. K., Lemons, J. A., Sowell, A., Mele, L., Tyson, J. E., and Verter, J. Vitamin A to prevent bronchopulmonary dysplasia in very-low-birth-weight infants: has the dose been too low? The NICHD Neonatal Research Network. Early Hum Dev. 7-24-1997;49(1):19-31.


Shatrugna, V., Raman, L., Uma, K., and Sujatha, T. Interaction between vitamin A and iron: effects of supplements in pregnancy. Int J Vitam.Nutr Res. 1997;67(3):145-148.


Giles, G. and Ireland, P. Diet, nutrition and prostate cancer. Int J Cancer 1997;Suppl 10:13-17.


Benn, C. S., Aaby, P., Bale, C., Olsen, J., Michaelsen, K. F., George, E., and Whittle, H. Randomised trial of effect of vitamin A supplementation on antibody response to measles vaccine in Guinea-Bissau, west Africa. Lancet 7-12-1997;350(9071):101-105.


Olsen, E. A., Katz, H. I., Levine, N., Nigra, T. P., Pochi, P. E., Savin, R. C., Shupack, J., Weinstein, G. D., Lufrano, L., and Perry, B. H. Tretinoin emollient cream for photodamaged skin: results of 48-week, multicenter, double-blind studies. J Am Acad Dermatol 1997;37(2 Pt 1):217-226.


Fawzi, W. W., Herrera, M. G., Willett, W. C., Nestel, P., el, Amin A., and Mohamed, K. A. The effect of vitamin A supplementation on the growth of preschool children in the Sudan. Am J Public Health 1997;87(8):1359-1362.


West, K. P., LeClerq, S. C., Shrestha, S. R., Wu, L. S., Pradhan, E. K., Khatry, S. K., Katz, J., Adhikari, R., and Sommer, A. Effects of vitamin A on growth of vitamin A-deficient children: field studies in Nepal. J Nutr 1997;127(10):1957-1965.


Habluetzel, A., Diallo, D. A., Esposito, F., Lamizana, L., Pagnoni, F., Lengeler, C., Traore, C., and Cousens, S. N. Do insecticide-treated curtains reduce all-cause child mortality in Burkina Faso? Trop.Med Int Health 1997;2(9):855-862.


Nacul, L. C., Kirkwood, B. R., Arthur, P., Morris, S. S., Magalhaes, M., and Fink, M. C. Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial of efficacy of vitamin A treatment in non-measles childhood pneumonia. BMJ 8-30-1997;315(7107):505-510.


Dollimore, N., Cutts, F., Binka, F. N., Ross, D. A., Morris, S. S., and Smith, P. G. Measles incidence, case fatality, and delayed mortality in children with or without vitamin A supplementation in rural Ghana. Am J Epidemiol 10-15-1997;146(8):646-654.


Si, N. V., Grytter, C., Vy, N. N., Hue, N. B., and Pedersen, F. K. High dose vitamin A supplementation in the course of pneumonia in Vietnamese children. Acta Paediatr. 1997;86(10):1052-1055.


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