If you have severe acne then I don't know if a low dose will be enough, but most people who do it see a reduction in oil that is just as drastic as taking a large dose. It was effective enough for me that I'm planning on doing it again.
I have to say though that the idea of having to take isotretinoin for the rest of my life is really depressing, but I just don't know what else to do. I've considered looking into a diode laser treatment since in the long run it's probably cheaper than paying for Accutane forever.
Mainly a combination of cost and side effects. The side effects I experienced with isotretinoin were increased fatigue, facial flushing, and lower back pain. But those weren't too bad and I'd take them over the vitamin A headaches any day.
The isotretinoin is still the only thing I've tried for oily skin that worked like magic. I'm planning on giving it another go in the future when I have more disposable income.
I've been taking vitamin A pretty consistently for several months now and it has made no dent in my oil production. I think it may be helping to keep my skin clear of acne, though.
So I'm going to stop taking it. Not only are the results negligible, but I've also been getting some really irritating side effects. The worst is terrible headaches every morning, which is a common side effect of vitamin A. Another side effect I've been experiencing, which I've never seen linked to vitamin A, is poor sleep. I wake up a couple hours earlier than usual and can't get back to sleep. Also I randomly get very sharp pains in my sides. I've experienced this since I was a kid, but the frequency of the pains has increased since being on vitamin A.
That's the brand that I'm taking (except mine is 10,000 IU per pill), and it's also the exact supplement that FredTheBelgian said he has been using for a couple of years with no side effects. I emailed Now Foods and they said that it is 100% fish oil sourced Vitamin A, not synthetic. So I think it's a pretty safe bet as far as vitamin A supplements go, but if you have any reservations you can of course let me be the guinea pig here and see how my body responds to the supplement before trying it yourself.
On July 2 I started taking 1 tsp. of cod liver oil per day, then one week later I decided to add 20,000 IU of Now Foods Vitamin A (the brand that FredTheBelgian uses) to help speed up the process. I haven't seen any changes yet, but back when I was on isotretinoin it took 3 weeks for the sebum-reducing effect to kick in, so I'm going to be patient with this regimen.
To be honest, I only just started looking into vitamin A a few days ago so I'm not an expert by any means. That particular supplement may very well be totally safe in large doses. Personally I'm trying to stick mostly to natural sources for my vitamin A, at least until I can do some more research.
No, I'm not concerned. As a general rule, your body handles vitamins from natural food sources much better than it handles synthetic vitamins in supplements, so the toxicity threshold is much higher. Most vitamin D overdoses come from the synthetic supplements.
Yes, I just started taking cod liver oil. There's no way to tell exactly how much vitamin A I'm getting but I'm shooting for at least 20,000 IU. I'll definitely update with my results in the coming months.
Green Pastures stopped listing vitamin content on their labels because it varies from batch to batch, but I did find this snippet from an article on their website:
"The final category is the fully cleaned and deodorized product with natural vitamins added back in. This is the so-called high-vitamin cod liver oil, standardized at 2340 IU vitamin A per gram (11,700 IU per teaspoon) and 234 IU vitamin D (1170 IU per teaspoon). This is the type of cod liver oil I imported into the U.S. and sold under the Blue Ice label"
My guess is that the amount is probably less precise than that, so I emailed the company and asked if they could provide a general range of vitamin A content. If I hear back from them I'll give an update.
Thanks! Yeah that study definitely helped put my own mind at ease.
And I should point out that some fish/cod liver oils have the natural vitamins removed and then have synthetic vitamins added back in, which means they could still become toxic at relatively small doses. So to anyone considering a vitamin A megadose, don't assume that a particular supplement has naturally occurring vitamin A just because it's from a fish oil. I believe the Carlson brand, for example, sells cod liver oil that contains synthetic vitamin A. I'm using the Green Pastures brand because they specifically state on their website that the oil contains natural vitamins.
For anyone who is interested in vitamin A megadosing but is worried about toxicity, I found an interesting study that should help allay your fears. The study performed a meta-analysis of around 250 scientific papers related to retinol, and there are basically 3 important takeaways:
1. Naturally occurring oil-based vitamin A is roughly 10 times less toxic than synthetic vitamin A.
2. The upper limit of oil-based vitamin A for an individual is about 6666IU/kg/day. In my case, for example, this comes out to just over 453,000 IU.
3. Vitamin D dramatically reduces the toxic effects of vitamin A, and consequently raises the safe upper limit of vitamin A that you can take. The study unfortunately doesn't specify how much vitamin D is needed.
Personally I've chosen to go with fermented cod liver oil in liquid form for my source of vitamin A.
Some choice quotes from the study relating to what I paraphrased above:
"water-miscible, emulsified, and solid preparations of retinol are ≈10 times as toxic as are oil-based retinol preparations.”
“Chronic hypervitaminosis A is induced after daily doses of 2 mg/kg/day of retinol in oil-based preparations for many months or years”
"Clinical studies of secondary cancer prevention indicate that daily doses of 90 mg retinol in oil-based preparations in adults (≈1–1.5 mg/kg) are well tolerated for many months or years”
“Vitamin D appears to protect against retinol toxicity because the median dose was significantly higher when the vitamins were combined (0.7 mg/kg; P = 0.020; 95% CI: 0.082, 1.56 mg/kg).” [that's 2333 IU per kg more]
If you do try the 10,000 IU dose, please report back with your results because I'd love to know if it works. It's funny, I've seen lots of your posts around here but somehow missed your thread about vitamin A curing your oily skin, and it just convinced me to try vitamin A for myself.