• Due to excessive bot signups along with nefarious actors we are limiting forum registration. Keep checking back for the register link to appear. Please do not send emails or have someone post to the forum asking for a signup link. Until the current climate changes we do not see a change of this policy. To join the forum you must have a compelling reason. Letting us know what skills/knowledge you will bring to the community along with the intent of your stay here will help in getting you approved.

You CAN get vitamin A toxicity from beta-carotene


Jun 7, 2021
We have all been told that only preformed vitamin A in the form of retinol, which is found in supplements, liver, eggs, can be toxic. However, beta-carotene seems to have a very good rep because it is not supposed to give you toxicity due to the fact that the body is able to tightly regulate its conversion to retinol, and, in any case, that conversion rate is reportedly pretty low.

I personally got apparent vit A toxicity from eating too much beef/chicken liver and canned cod liver, as well as eggs and dairy on top of that. Then I continued to have all the classic debilitating vitamin A toxicity symptoms from high beta-carotene foods (slowed metabolism, dry skin, eyes, and mouth, high calcium and cholesterol, irritability, fatigue), and it was only a week ago that I realized that vitamin A/carotene might be the cause.

Here's a case study I found a couple of days ago:
Refractory hypercalcemia owing to vitamin A toxicity in a 4-year-old boy

I understand that a 4 yo boy has a bit different bodily processes and mechanisms than an adult, but the case is still very unusual.

A 4-year-old, previously healthy boy presented to the emergency department with a 2-day history of polydipsia, fatigue, irritability, cheilitis and a refusal to bear weight.
He appeared pale, with significant cheilitis, xerotic skin, diffuse alopecia and periorbital and pedal edema (Figure 1). Initial investigations were significant for severe hypercalcemia, hyponatremia, hypokalemia, mildly elevated creatinine, elevated C-reactive protein, leukocytosis and normocytic anemia (Box 1).

He also had elevated liver enzymes, a prolonged international normalized ratio and hypoalbuminemia. A liver ultrasound showed hepatomegaly, and abnormal sheer wave elastography was suggestive of fibrosis.

...the vitamin A level was significantly elevated at 4.1 (reference 1.0–1.6) μmol/L. Because of his elevated vitamin A level, we carefully reviewed his diet and supplement intake. He was on a predominantly plant-based diet, and we estimated his vitamin A intake to be between 1528 μg and 3304 μg of retinol activity equivalents (RAE) per day, or 31 087–63 507 international units (IU) per day (recommended intake for children at the age of our patient is 400 μg/d RAE). We referred to the US Department of Agriculture to provide the levels of vitamin A in the foods (FoodData Central) and the conversion of factors for RAE and IU from the US National Institutes of Health (Box 2). The patient’s main sources of vitamin A included 1–2 cups of kale, 2–3 cups of green vegetables, 2–3 cups of fruit and 4 oz of meat per day (nonliver), plus a multivitamin containing vitamin A as β-carotene (28 μg RAE). He had previously been taking cod liver oil supplements (276 μg/day RAE) for more than 1 year, but had stopped many months previously.

We managed the patient’s hypercalcemia with IV hyperhydration, multiple doses of subcutaneous calcitonin and IV bisphosphonates and a low vitamin A diet (Figure 2). We discharged him home with a normal ionized calcium, and 1 month after discharge, his hypercalcemia and bicytopenia had resolved. His papilledema improved and he was tapered off acetazolamide. His liver markers remain mildly elevated, with ongoing evidence of fibrosis on liver ultrasound.

Basically, the child used to take cod liver oil in a safe dose several months prior to the admission, but stopped and continued to eat a plant-based diet with lots of carotene-rich products. Most of his issues were resolved or improved in a short period of time on a low-A diet.
The initially consumed amount of beta-carotene was enough to cause vit A toxicity, even though his body should have stopped converting it to retinol once its liver stores were full in order to prevent hypervitaminosis.
Also, note that his skin is a healthy color, even "pale" as mentioned in the article, with no signs of carotenemia. Once again, in a normal "defense mechanism" against vit A toxicity, the body should have stopped the conversion and started to direct it to the subcutaneous fat and cause apparent carotenemia (which I also had and thus was anything but "pale". In fact, I was so yellowish that my docs all asked me about any liver issues).

Would like to hear your thoughts!

Tim Lundeen

Feb 19, 2017
This is correct, I've seen a few other people reporting the same. I suspect the problem is that we can up or downregulate beta-carotene conversion within some range, but can't shut it down altogether.


Apr 17, 2017
Genes Associated With Beta-carotene Levels:

BCO1 (beta-carotene oxygenase 1) gene produces the enzyme responsible for converting beta-carotene into vitamin A (retinoid).

BCO2 (beta-carotene oxygenase 2) is a key enzyme that prevents oxidative stress by breaking down beta-carotene in the mitochondria.

BCO2 breaks down beta-carotene in a different way than BCO1, without producing vitamin A. Mutations in these two gene increase beta-carotene levels.


Aug 10, 2012
Ray has been pointing this out for years. He even advises rinsing carrots to remove part of the beta carotene as well as limiting the amounts or avoiding such high beta carotene foods as sweet potatoes.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
J Think I may have vitamin D toxicity Skin 15
J Feeling incredibly Dried-Out after breakfast (includes liver): Vitamin A Toxicity? Diet 22
F Anti-Peat Grant Genereux's Theory Of Vitamin A Toxicity Debate - Anti-Peat 8320
S Vitamin A Toxicity Supplements, Pharmaceutical Drugs 11
D Vitamin A Toxicity Neutralized By Vitamin C Vitamins 22
T High Bun/creatinine, Low Creatinine After Vitamin A/e Toxicity Blood Work, Labs 1
haidut Reports Of Vitamin A Toxicity Are Greatly Exaggerated Scientific Studies 13
J Influence of excess vitamin E on vitamin A toxicity in rats. Articles & Scientific Studies 0
TypicalJock Does Vitamin E have any contributions to food intolerance? Digestion 0
BearWithMe Vitamin D supps might have shelf life as low as 2 weeks after opening? Ask For Help or Advice 6
L Hypocupremia associated with prior vitamin B12 deficiency Scientific Studies 0
Mauritio Vitamin K, D and A bind to the SARS‐CoV‐2 spike protein Vitamins 28
Ippodrom47 Vitamin A and B12 interactions? Ask For Help or Advice 4
B Vitamin D relation with Cholesterol? Ask For Help or Advice 0
Xavage Peaty way to increase Vitamin K without supplementation? Ask For Help or Advice 7
RenaissanceMan Thoughts on Vitamin A Supplementation alongside T3? Ask For Help or Advice 0
Coffe Vitamin D3 and K2 timing Vitamins 6
E Vitamin D Palpitations (I already take magnesium) Ask For Help or Advice 14
IROM Just ordered Progest-Avail, BHRT Topical Pregnenolone in Vitamin E and BHRT Topical DHEA along with bulk Naringin and Chrysin. Supplements 1
A Why does Vitamin E gives me uterine cramps... Supplements, Pharmaceutical Drugs 4
Pina Proteolytic Enzymes vs Vitamin E - Reversing fibrosis and soft tissue calcification Ask For Help or Advice 38
CHEESEHEAD69 Looking for good quality vitamin d3 supplement cheap? Ask For Help or Advice 22
Coffe Time needed for optimum Vitamin D Vitamins 5
G Vitamin K Absolutely Changed My Face (Wow!) Ask For Help or Advice 13
sugarbabe Trouble going off vitamin C Ask For Help or Advice 67
haidut Vitamin D3 anabolic, calcitriol catabolic for muscle/thymus Scientific Studies 4
haidut Vitamin B1 and/or biotin may treat Huntington Disease (HD) Scientific Studies 35
CiggyTardust Vitamin D3 and Calcification D 14
Mauritio 4000 IU of Vitamin D increases Testosterone by 41% Vitamins 63
youngsinatra Anyone here feeling best on high calcium alone without vitamin D? Ask For Help or Advice 8
F Thyroid glandular vs thyroid meds is like comparing orange juice to vitamin C??? Ask For Help or Advice 2
Elize Vitamin patches Metabolism 5
E Anyone tried Vitamin K2 MK-9? Ask For Help or Advice 4
Braveheart More Evidence That Vitamin D Protects Against Severe COVID-19 Disease and Death D 9
haidut Vitamin A may treat anosmia (loss of smell) due to COVID-19 Scientific Studies 8
M Do policosanols and vitamin b1 have any interactions with other nutrients? how does thiamine affect methyl groups, other b vitamins and histamine? Ask For Help or Advice 0
Broken man Ameliorative effect of curcumin and vitamin B6 against lithocholic acid-induced cholestasis and liver injury in mice Scientific Studies 4
G Any drawbacks to dissolving pregnenolone w/o vitamin E Ask For Help or Advice 0
Hans Vitamin D3 and vit C resolved COVID-19 pneumonia in 3 days Scientific Studies 14
A COVID-19 and Vitamin A Ask For Help or Advice 4
Peatogenic Magnesium activates Vitamin D Testimonials 11
jpgio Vitamin E makes me feel alive Supplements, Pharmaceutical Drugs 11
E Vitamin D hypersensitivity Ask For Help or Advice 92
limitless77 Vitamin k2 mk4 vs mk7 and dosage? Supplements, Pharmaceutical Drugs 1
Braveheart The neuroprotective effect of vitamin E on chronic sleep deprivation-induced memory impairment E 0
Braveheart Excess vitamin intake: An unrecognized risk factor for obesity Vitamins 4
Mito Vitamin D and COVID-19 - Chris Masterjohn AHS 2021 D 26
miquelangeles Vitamin K and brain function K 3
haidut Vitamin D, reducing fat oxidation may treat lung fibrosis, COVID-19 Scientific Studies 18
haidut Human study - vitamin B1 safe & effective for preventing & treating Alzheimer Disease (AD) Scientific Studies 32

Similar threads