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Vitamin A Toxicity, my story....

vitamin vitamins vitamin a zinc

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#1 yepican

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 03:58 PM

So it's been awhile since I've posted on this site, but I just thought I'd drop in and share my experience with supplements/vitamins. This is not gunna be well written or organized so I apologize in advance. surprised.gif

It all started back in June 2007, I had just graduated high school and was preparing to go off to college. All during high school I participated in various sports, clubs, church, etc and thus never had much free time. And that changed during the summer of '07 as I suddenly had tons of free time and wondered how I was going to fill it.

Acne for me was never a huge issue up until then, but nonetheless it was a nagging condition that seemed like no matter what I did I couldn't be 100% clear. After reading very briefly about how vitamins might possibly help acne I begin supplementing daily w/o even knowing or considering any adverse effects they might have. I figured "hey their good, they're vitamins, more of a good thing is a good thing right? wrong."

I started taking a generic multi-vitamin along with 50 mg of zinc and 8,000 iu of vitamin A in retinol form. So after taking all three of these for a little while I started to notice that my face (especially around my goatee and chin) often was dry. I attributed this to perhaps it's just my face wash (not sure why I thought this b/c I had been using the same cleanser for a long period of time washing morning and night). I countered this dryness by dabbing on lotion/moisturizer anytime after a wash which helped a small bit, but the dryness continued.

I continued taking all 3 of these supplements (dealing with the dryness) until around mid-november of last year (2008) in which I finally came to the realization that the vitamins weren't having a positive effect on my skin at all. So I stopped taking any vitamins at all on November 30th of last year after reading about how Iodine causes your pores to become more inflamed and the dangers of reaching toxic storage levels of vitamin a.

Around this time I also latched on to the idea of not using cleansers or washing my face anymore (search these boards for "cavemen regimen", "not washing face for a month", "all-natural regimen"). Doing this led to excessive dead skin buildup, but did in fact clear up my most painful and inflamed acne.

So as the days and weeks went on...into February and March I began to worry. All of the other people doing the "no-wash" regimen said their dead skin had gone away and normalized within 2 months, however, mine had not. I also noticed that in parts of my skin that I had never used topicals on or damaged was covered by the same kind of dry, dead skin (upper neck, mid-chest,scalp, basically anywhere where oil glands where). I also noticed that my lips were dry and chapped, I had hair loss, I was fatigued, and my lower back would get sore from time to time. I was really confused now b/c I had the chapped lips in december and january but just thought it was because of the cold weather around here, but when it hit 70 and 80 degrees and my skin and my lips were still desquamated I begin to research.

What I found was my answer. Over time I had developed chronic hypervitaminosis A in which my body had stored highly toxic levels of vitamin a in the preformed form (retinol, which is 6X more potent than beta-carotene from veggies n such). And since I had been ingesting 400% of my DV in Zinc (which is crucial for the body in making good use of vitamin a) it had undoubtely made things worse. The good news I read was that most people fully recover, the bad news....it takes 200-300 days for the excess levels of vitamin a to clear from your body. The only way to cure it, was/is to wait it out. I look at like this....I have/had a giant pool (storage) of vitamin A sitting in my liver, bloodstream, and other organs, and each day, each week, my body takes a little bit of the excess reserves away. This is somewhere between day 175-200 since I've taken high doses of vitamin a and the symptoms are reducing month-to-month which is great.

If you have read this far, you're probably wondering how this effected my acne. I will now tell you. From my experience and knowledge acne requires three things 1)dead skin, 2)oil, 3)bacteria. When one of those three are missing, the result is clear skin. However, when all 3 are present it leads to acne. I have been keeping a close eye on the appearance of my acne for the last 6 months and have come to staggering conclusions. Since the age of 17 any acne that I have suffered from has been brought on by myself. Yea, that's right. From 17-18 it was because I was using harsh chemicals on my face breaking down the acid mantle, making the bacteria more resistant, making my face more oilier, and thining out the natural layers of my skin. From the time I stopped using chemicals on my face my acne has been caused by this excess buildup of dead skin cells that clog the pores from vitamin a toxicity....period.

I've noticed (and I have written down what I've seen in a journal for each passing week) that as my vitamin a storage levels go down, that my dead, dry skin reduces, and any remaining acne reduces as well. The only parts of my face where I have acne at all is in my oilier places of my body (forehead, mid-chest, mid-back, and chin). Why not anywhere else? Because everywhere else lacks 1 of the 3 key ingredients, oil glands. It was almost amazing to me to see 4 months ago how much dead skin was on parts of my face clogging my pores and yet no acne (sideburns, temple area, jawline, etc.).

I know for a fact that when my skin cell production returns back to normal that I will be acne free! I'll be acne-free not from vitamins, not from cleansers or regimens, not from diet, but because my acne is no longer caused by hormonal fluctations in my body (as it is/was for almost everyone around the ages of 13-17). So my advice to anyone out there listening would be to test different variables yourself and don't listen to mainstream "common sense". If your acne is not caused my hormones that what is it caused by? That's the answer you have to find out on your own. If anyone has any questions or wants to know more about my testimony feel free to message me.


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#2 prettyboy909

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 04:19 PM

the hair you lost has it began to grow back?
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#3 yepican

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 04:27 PM

QUOTE (prettyboy909 @ May 27 2009, 05:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
the hair you lost has it began to grow back?


good question. i should have clarified in the original post....my hair wasn't falling out in clumps or anything like that. like when i'd where a hat, once i took my hat off you could find like 10-15 strands of hair that had fallen out. It was never to a point where I was bald in any spot or anything like that, but I definetly knew it wasn't normal.
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#4 prettyboy909

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 04:50 PM

QUOTE (yepican @ May 27 2009, 04:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (prettyboy909 @ May 27 2009, 05:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
the hair you lost has it began to grow back?


good question. i should have clarified in the original post....my hair wasn't falling out in clumps or anything like that. like when i'd where a hat, once i took my hat off you could find like 10-15 strands of hair that had fallen out. It was never to a point where I was bald in any spot or anything like that, but I definetly knew it wasn't normal.


Oh so it must of thinned out on you from the excess vitamin A im guessing.....
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#5 yepican

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:01 PM

QUOTE (prettyboy909 @ May 27 2009, 05:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (yepican @ May 27 2009, 04:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (prettyboy909 @ May 27 2009, 05:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
the hair you lost has it began to grow back?


good question. i should have clarified in the original post....my hair wasn't falling out in clumps or anything like that. like when i'd where a hat, once i took my hat off you could find like 10-15 strands of hair that had fallen out. It was never to a point where I was bald in any spot or anything like that, but I definetly knew it wasn't normal.


Oh so it must of thinned out on you from the excess vitamin A im guessing.....


Well, yes and no. I think a few strands fell out here and there when the skin on my scalp became drier and thicker. Like I could literally take my fingernail and scratch my head and then wipe my fingernail on a dark fabric and you could see like white gunky stuff....which as dead, dry skin mixed with oil.
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#6 riomar

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:20 PM

this worries me I've been taking 2400 I.U. daily...... eusa_think.gif
it all happens so fast it seems, on a cusp for disaster attached to dreams...

#7 yepican

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:32 PM

QUOTE (LRGBars @ May 27 2009, 06:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
this worries me I've been taking 2400 I.U. daily...... eusa_think.gif


I'm assuming that you're getting that amount from a multivitamin right? I wouldn't be too worried about that. I was taking around 12,000 from supplements alone (not counting vitamin a from milk, cheese, carrots, etc.) along with a high dose of zinc (61 mg all-together). After doing some research online I found out that without an adequate supply of zinc your body can struggle to convert vitamin a to retonoic-acid. So I believe you should be fine.
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#8 riomar

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:35 PM

QUOTE (yepican @ May 27 2009, 06:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (LRGBars @ May 27 2009, 06:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
this worries me I've been taking 2400 I.U. daily...... eusa_think.gif


I'm assuming that you're getting that amount from a multivitamin right? I wouldn't be too worried about that. I was taking around 12,000 from supplements alone (not counting vitamin a from milk, cheese, carrots, etc.) along with a high dose of zinc (61 mg all-together). After doing some research online I found out that without an adequate supply of zinc your body can struggle to convert vitamin a to retonoic-acid. So I believe you should be fine.



No, actually I take it in a capsule form three a day but I also take Zinc gluconate
50 mg daily aside from eating eggs, meat, and sea salt in my diet.
it all happens so fast it seems, on a cusp for disaster attached to dreams...

#9 riomar

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:42 PM

QUOTE
I'm sure they are referring to synthetic vitamin A which
can build up to toxic levels at lower doses than "true" retinol
(vitamin A) from source I recommend. See this article which explains
about vitamin A toxicity and how it can occur:
http://www.westonapr...ifications.html

Anyone can safely take 100,000 IUs of vitamin A for 2-3 months at a
time to assist their body with some health issues, like the article
above mentions. But they should always stop taking it for 2 days
once a month so the body can re-balance itself. My M.D.s, who were
holistic, recommended 100,000 IU per day while I had a cold, which I
took for about a month. It helped me a lot.

Reassured by Bee herself.
it all happens so fast it seems, on a cusp for disaster attached to dreams...

#10 yepican

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:27 PM

^^^^^^^^^^
yes it was in synthetic form.
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#11 acnejean

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 07:45 PM

sorry to hear that happened to you. i have read that too much vitamin a can aggravate acne which was ironic but I guess it can be true. I don't take it anymore and don't think it made much of a difference.

#12 Stephen01

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 01:31 PM

What brand of Vitamin A was you taking? Was it a derivative of fish oil? When you take Vitamin A you need to make sure it's from a natural source like fish oil. For most people the toxicity level of Vitamin A is going to be far higher than the level you were taking.

For my regimen I'm sticking to around 15,000 IU a day from supplementing but I've taken as much as around 30,000-40,000 IU on different days for a few months off and on. I never really saw any great improvement in my skin from the higher levels so that's why I dropped it back down. Vitamin A helps prevent and cure a number of other things besides just acne so that's one reason to continue supplementing it at safe levels regardless of whether or not it clears up your acne. For you though I'd say there is an underlying cause as to why your body did what it did because 14,000 IU should not be a toxic level. A lot of the multi-vitamins have 10,000 IU but some provide part of it in the form of Beta-Carotene which has a much lower conversion ratio to Vitamin A. From what I've read toxicity levels for Vitamin A can depend on genetic predisposition so for you your toxicity level may be relatively low whereas I could take 50,000 IU for several months and be fine. Keep in mind though that my Vitamin A supplements are from natural fish oil so that was most likely the problem right there if you were taking yours in the form of some synthetic Vitamin A.

QUOTE
Recommended supplement limits

The Institute of Medicine has established Daily Tolerable Upper Levels (UL) of intake for vitamin A from supplements that apply to healthy populations, in order to help prevent the risk of vitamin A toxicity. These levels for preformed vitamin A in micrograms (µg) and International Units (IU) are:

* 0-3 years: 600 µg or 2000 IU
* 4-8 years: 900 µg or 3000 IU
* 9-13 years: 1700 µg or 5665 IU
* 14-18 years: 2800 µg or 9335 IU
* 19+ years: 3000 µg or 10,000 IU

The dose over and above the RDA is among the narrowest of the vitamins and minerals. Possible pregnancy, liver disease, high alcohol consumption, and smoking are indications for close monitoring and limitation of vitamin A administration. However, vitamin A has also been repeatedly tested and used therapeutically over several decades in larger amounts, 100,000 - 400,000 IU total dosage, for treatment of severe pediatric measles in areas where vitamin A deficiency may be present, in order to reduce childhood mortality.


http://en.wikipedia....ervitaminosis_A

#13 yepican

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 03:47 PM

QUOTE (Stephen01 @ May 28 2009, 02:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What brand of Vitamin A was you taking? Was it a derivative of fish oil? When you take Vitamin A you need to make sure it's from a natural source like fish oil. For most people the toxicity level of Vitamin A is going to be far higher than the level you were taking.

For my regimen I'm sticking to around 15,000 IU a day from supplementing but I've taken as much as around 30,000-40,000 IU on different days for a few months off and on. I never really saw any great improvement in my skin from the higher levels so that's why I dropped it back down. Vitamin A helps prevent and cure a number of other things besides just acne so that's one reason to continue supplementing it at safe levels regardless of whether or not it clears up your acne. For you though I'd say there is an underlying cause as to why your body did what it did because 14,000 IU should not be a toxic level. A lot of the multi-vitamins have 10,000 IU but some provide part of it in the form of Beta-Carotene which has a much lower conversion ratio to Vitamin A. From what I've read toxicity levels for Vitamin A can depend on genetic predisposition so for you your toxicity level may be relatively low whereas I could take 50,000 IU for several months and be fine. Keep in mind though that my Vitamin A supplements are from natural fish oil so that was most likely the problem right there if you were taking yours in the form of some synthetic Vitamin A.

QUOTE
Recommended supplement limits

The Institute of Medicine has established Daily Tolerable Upper Levels (UL) of intake for vitamin A from supplements that apply to healthy populations, in order to help prevent the risk of vitamin A toxicity. These levels for preformed vitamin A in micrograms (µg) and International Units (IU) are:

* 0-3 years: 600 µg or 2000 IU
* 4-8 years: 900 µg or 3000 IU
* 9-13 years: 1700 µg or 5665 IU
* 14-18 years: 2800 µg or 9335 IU
* 19+ years: 3000 µg or 10,000 IU

The dose over and above the RDA is among the narrowest of the vitamins and minerals. Possible pregnancy, liver disease, high alcohol consumption, and smoking are indications for close monitoring and limitation of vitamin A administration. However, vitamin A has also been repeatedly tested and used therapeutically over several decades in larger amounts, 100,000 - 400,000 IU total dosage, for treatment of severe pediatric measles in areas where vitamin A deficiency may be present, in order to reduce childhood mortality.


http://en.wikipedia....ervitaminosis_A


yea i've read that the minimum level to reach toxicity is 25,000 iu's a day, but for whatever reason my body reached toxic levels at lower doses. I had been using Retin-A topically to my skin for about 2 1/2 years too....so it's possible that my body absorbed a very little bit of that over time as well. Plus if you look at most cereals, they add vitamin a palmitate to it (about 10-15% dv), and I for one eat a bowl of cereal every single morning. So yea I wasn't taking very high doses of vitamin a, but for whatever reason I must be more prone to toxicity than others.

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#14 sowet

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 08:03 PM

Lol this post is exactly what happened to me exactly around the same time. I am 18 turning 19 and I am in that phase where i've stopped Vitamin A but I know its still in my body. My skin looks pretty good and I still do take about 20mg of Zinc Daily and Fish Oil about 3-4 days a week. Around the same time just like you I stopped using all cleaners and washing with Dan's cleaner once a day. I know for a fact now that my acne was caused by hormones and self inflicted damage put on my Benzoyl peroxide and hydro cortisone creams.

What I am currently suffering because of the Vit A toxicity:
Hair Loss
Back pains
Fatigue
Butterfly Rash( I hope its not Lupus)

#15 yepican

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 06:24 AM

QUOTE (sowet @ May 28 2009, 09:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Lol this post is exactly what happened to me exactly around the same time. I am 18 turning 19 and I am in that phase where i've stopped Vitamin A but I know its still in my body. My skin looks pretty good and I still do take about 20mg of Zinc Daily and Fish Oil about 3-4 days a week. Around the same time just like you I stopped using all cleaners and washing with Dan's cleaner once a day. I know for a fact now that my acne was caused by hormones and self inflicted damage put on my Benzoyl peroxide and hydro cortisone creams.

What I am currently suffering because of the Vit A toxicity:
Hair Loss
Back pains
Fatigue
Butterfly Rash( I hope its not Lupus)


how long ago did u stop taking excess vitamin a?

how much/what were u taking?

did u experience a thicker dry, hardened layer of skin in your face that reduces over time?


"Allow myself, to introduce myself"

#16 sowet

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 02:56 PM

I stopped taking Vitamin A probably about 3-4 months ago.
I took 2 rounds of vitamin A. My last round was at a more reasonable dosage of i'd say under 30,000UI. Retinol form as well.

I am not sure about the thicker layer of skin but it could be true. What is most annoying is the butterfly rash... it looks pretty bad and is very red. I am not sure if it is a sign of liver damage or extremely dried skin cause every time I use petroleum jelly it almost goes away but then comes back.

My hormonal acne is basically gone and I know this because I can eat dairy/sweet products without it affecting my acne.. in moderation ofc. I am still somewhat sensitive to dairy/super sweet stuff but not as bad as it used to be.
Whenever I get a sweet craving and decide to pig out... I make sure to take a fish oil before... and somehow it successfully stops me from breaking out.

#17 riomar

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 03:51 PM

yea but vitamin A as retinol is safe....is it not?
i'm thinking of switching over to liquid fish oil from the bottle very soon.
it all happens so fast it seems, on a cusp for disaster attached to dreams...

#18 prettyboy909

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 04:59 PM

QUOTE (sowet @ May 28 2009, 08:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Lol this post is exactly what happened to me exactly around the same time. I am 18 turning 19 and I am in that phase where i've stopped Vitamin A but I know its still in my body. My skin looks pretty good and I still do take about 20mg of Zinc Daily and Fish Oil about 3-4 days a week. Around the same time just like you I stopped using all cleaners and washing with Dan's cleaner once a day. I know for a fact now that my acne was caused by hormones and self inflicted damage put on my Benzoyl peroxide and hydro cortisone creams.

What I am currently suffering because of the Vit A toxicity:
Hair Loss
Back pains
Fatigue
Butterfly Rash( I hope its not Lupus)


how much hair loss have you experienced?
Face Wash:Dove Soap sensative skin unscented
Moisturizer:Dans Aha

#19 yepican

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 07:05 AM

*edit*
"Allow myself, to introduce myself"

#20 sowet

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 12:24 PM

QUOTE (prettyboy909 @ May 29 2009, 05:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (sowet @ May 28 2009, 08:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Lol this post is exactly what happened to me exactly around the same time. I am 18 turning 19 and I am in that phase where i've stopped Vitamin A but I know its still in my body. My skin looks pretty good and I still do take about 20mg of Zinc Daily and Fish Oil about 3-4 days a week. Around the same time just like you I stopped using all cleaners and washing with Dan's cleaner once a day. I know for a fact now that my acne was caused by hormones and self inflicted damage put on my Benzoyl peroxide and hydro cortisone creams.

What I am currently suffering because of the Vit A toxicity:
Hair Loss
Back pains
Fatigue
Butterfly Rash( I hope its not Lupus)


how much hair loss have you experienced?


Unfortunately a great amount. It won't stop but it is slowing down. The regrowth of my hair won't occur until all of the excess Vitamin A has left my body. This process will take a long time.

*Read this it is very interesting*
Since my new diet changes which include less carbs and overall less food(pre overeater). I try to eat mainly fatty meals that include a bunch of EVOO and Avocado's daily. I try to eat mainly greens and fruits. Of course I still eat other things because I believe in diversity so I still eat meat/poultry/eggs and everything really.. including pasta... just in moderate portions and not in binges like before. Oh and I have half an avocado before every meal.

**HERE IS THE INTERESTING PART**
Whenever I go a long time without eating.... like 5-6 hours... which doesn't make me hungry because my metabolism is fairly slow......It appears like my body starts to metabolize the excess Vitamin A. I mean I feel it Immediately... my whole face starts getting dry, my lips, my face looks less red.... all because I haven't eaten. Then if I have a small meal and 15mg of Zinc I am in Acne less zone, its marvelous. I notice the difference of my face throughout the day depending on what I eat but most importantly how much I eat. Basically if I have the will and power (very hard for me) to eat just 2-3 small meals... my skin honestly will look good(very few light red marks and ofc still not perfect, but miles better than before).