Vitamin D Newsletter

Newsletter

Vitamin A harmful for liver?

Jason from New York writes:

Dr. Cannell: A friend of mine told me vitamin A hurt his liver. Is that possible?

Dr. Cannell replies:

Not only is it possible, it may be common. When patients present to their doctor with abnormal liver function tests or overt liver disease—and many hundreds of thousands do every year—how many physicians inquire about vitamin A or cod liver oil supplements? The authors below found 41 cases and warned that "chronic vitamin A consumption might represent an appreciable cause of chronic liver disease."

But if you think these 41 cases are the only ones reported, think again. A PubMed search reveals nearly 100 reports on vitamin A-induced liver disease.

If you know anyone taking cod liver oil or vitamin A, advise them to stop and have a "liver panel" blood test. It may be that abnormal liver function tests are the most sensitive indicator of vitamin A toxicity. I don't know how long it takes for toxic amounts of vitamin A to clear from the liver.

Page last edited: 06 August 2010