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Vitamin A Toxicity, my story....

vitamin vitamins vitamin a zinc

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#21 Wynne

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 12:31 PM

QUOTE (sowet @ May 29 2009, 04:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

If you used hydrocortisone cream for longer than a week or so you may have steroid induced rosacea. That would need a doctor's diagnosis, oral antibiotics, and continue to treat daily with petroleum jelly. The reddened rash sounds suspiciously like steroid induced rosacea, even if it is in the shape of a butterfly; that area of the face is highly vascular with tiny capillaries close to the surface and thus it's more prone to redness and irritation.

Take responsibility for your health; read the full prescribing information for any medication you take and understand that not all risks or potential side effects will likely ever be fully known.

=Regimen: Cetaphil Sensitive Skin Bar & Avon Anew Advanced Clinical Retexturizing Peel every day & Queen Helene Mint Julep mask weekly=
*Glycolic Acid Product Recommendations *What to do with a cyst/pimple/zit

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Please ask questions on the boards, not via PM. That way all benefit. Thanks!


#22 sowet

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 03:10 PM

I used a hydrocortisone cream for years..... Erythromycin(sp).....I would spot treat pimples with it....since I was 15..... I stopped at 17... but that was 2 years of almost every night usage...

Not sure whether Erythromycin topical gel is a hydro cortisone cream or not. I know it is an antibiotic...

It was the 4% version, only found in Europe and South America.

#23 Wynne

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 06:29 PM

Erythromycin cream isn't a hydrocortisone cream; it's just an antibiotic. That's fine then. smile.gif

Take responsibility for your health; read the full prescribing information for any medication you take and understand that not all risks or potential side effects will likely ever be fully known.

=Regimen: Cetaphil Sensitive Skin Bar & Avon Anew Advanced Clinical Retexturizing Peel every day & Queen Helene Mint Julep mask weekly=
*Glycolic Acid Product Recommendations *What to do with a cyst/pimple/zit

Wynne 2.9Beta Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Please ask questions on the boards, not via PM. That way all benefit. Thanks!


#24 yepican

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Posted 01 June 2009 - 09:52 PM

QUOTE (sowet @ May 28 2009, 10:03 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)


hey, how long do u think it will take before all the excess vitamin a is cleared/used up by our bodies....i've read 200-300 days....but do you have any research or anything contrary to that?
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#25 sowet

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 11:38 PM

Wish I did.... It seems about right that it is going to take that long. The less I eat the faster it will exit my body because the vitamin A is stored in my fat and my fat is what my body uses to feed on when I am not eating. I still eat a lot every day... but if I have special events coming up I half my meals and my face clears up ^^

#26 clipse

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 01:23 PM

this is what i have been taking 3 softgels a day

is this safe?
it all happens so fast it seems, on a cusp for disaster attached to dreams...

#27 yepican

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 04:10 PM

QUOTE (7Xican @ Jun 4 2009, 03:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


i'm not a doctor so i cant really say. but for me and from my experience that would be too much. however, what's true for one person may not be for another, so you could very well take that much a day with no side effects whatsoever. it also depends on numerous other factors including (but not limited to) how much zinc you take (zinc is vital for proper vitamin a absorption), how much caffeine you ingest (caffeine prohibits vitamin absorption to some extent), how much vitamin a you get from your diet alone, and of course your genetic makeup in general.

the question you need to ask yourself is all that vitamin a benefitting you? (less acne, better skin, etc.) If not why continue taking it? Since vitamin a is fat-soluble, your body stores it in places like the liver, so you don't need to take in new vitamin a every day. when the body needs vitamin a it simply taps into its reserves. hope this helps you.
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#28 clipse

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 04:46 PM

QUOTE (yepican @ Jun 4 2009, 05:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (7Xican @ Jun 4 2009, 03:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>


i'm not a doctor so i cant really say. but for me and from my experience that would be too much. however, what's true for one person may not be for another, so you could very well take that much a day with no side effects whatsoever. it also depends on numerous other factors including (but not limited to) how much zinc you take (zinc is vital for proper vitamin a absorption), how much caffeine you ingest (caffeine prohibits vitamin absorption to some extent), how much vitamin a you get from your diet alone, and of course your genetic makeup in general.

the question you need to ask yourself is all that vitamin a benefitting you? (less acne, better skin, etc.) If not why continue taking it? Since vitamin a is fat-soluble, your body stores it in places like the liver, so you don't need to take in new vitamin a every day. when the body needs vitamin a it simply taps into its reserves. hope this helps you.

well i suffer from candida and thus treating through diet and supplementation including vit A and zinc and am not currently consuming any caffeine whatsoever.
as far as actual benefits it is still to early to tell.
it all happens so fast it seems, on a cusp for disaster attached to dreams...

#29 and1

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 05:16 AM

QUOTE (sowet @ May 30 2009, 08:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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).



but consider, that you only overdosed on vitamin A as you was taking it in form of a vitamin supplement, if you'd taken cod liver oil or had eaten tons of carrots you'd never gotten into the problem. Weston Price (see www.westonprice.org) found in his research of indigenous diets of populations across the globe one common, that is, their diets were all extremely high in vitamin A. That's why the westonaprice foundation promotes cod liver oil, though the problem today is that most cod liver oils only contain artificial forms of vitamin A which are added after the Vitamin A is extracted from the cod liver oil.

#30 and1

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 09:11 AM

A number of forms of synthetic vitamins A and D are used in supplements. All should be strictly avoided--even small amounts of the synthetic forms of fat-soluble vitamins may be toxic. In fact, the toxicity of these synthetic forms has contributed to the media frenzy about the alleged dangers of vitamins A and D. The media and the medical establishment do not distinguish between the synthetic forms and natural vitamins A and D as found in or derived from animal fats. Decades ago, researchers definitively established the benefits and safety of large doses of natural vitamins A and D. Traditional diets are rich in these nutrients, typically containing upwards of ten times the RDA amounts the government now tells us are adequate. There has never been any indication of anything but benefit from these natural forms of vitamins A and D, including for pregnant women. In fact, these nutrients are particularly important for pregnant women, and foods rich in vitamins A and D were emphasized for pregnant women in virtually all of the traditional cultures studied by Weston Price.

The warnings against vitamin A usually include mention of Arctic explorers who died from vitamin A overdose because they consumed polar bear livers. Actually, the early explorers did not die from eating polar bear liver. They did suffer from exfoliative dermatitis and hair loss. In 1988, a team of Swedish scientists discovered that polar bear and seal livers tend to accumulate the metal cadmium. The symptoms for cadmium poisoning are exfoliative dermatitis and hair loss, but don't expect to hear about this on the evening news. Rather, expect continuing stories about the alleged dangers of vitamins A and D. The media and the medical establishment work together to vilify the very substances that can prevent suffering and disease.

Cod liver oil is a wonderful supplemental source of natural vitamins A and D. I recommend from one-half to two tablespoonfuls daily of high-vitamin cod liver oil, described later in this article, to most of my patients. Carlson Laboratories' imports lemon-flavored Norwegian cod liver oil which is of top quality and is palatable for most people.

#31 temp123

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 04:56 PM

Ok, there's some slight inaccuracies in this thread:

a) when you stop taking vitamin A overdose the high level of vitamin A in your blood goes back to normal in under about a week, NOT months

b) however... the toxicity that you got from ODing on vitamin A can take several months to recover... you've literally been poisoning yourself; the good news is that it's rare that you will have any long term bad effects from it, but you wouldn't want to get toxicity because among other things it does BAD things to your liver (and your hair will fall out, and it doesn't *always* regrow, but nearly always does), but as I say, it will normally sort itself out in less than a year.

c) the toxicity is much the same as you get with accutane, but less safe (accutane is a version of vitamin A that has relatively low toxicity as these things go)


Somebody mentioned vitamin D. Basically forget about vitamin D. A toxic dose of vitamin D is about a whole bottle of pills per day everyday for three months. That's the acute toxicity.

For chronic dosing. the experiments there have been done say that if you're taking less than about 10,000-20,000 IU per day everyday for the rest of your life then you probably won't ever reach toxicity. FWIW a single pill is usually about 200 IU. So that's 50 pills everyday, and nobody is known to have died. The maximum *recommended* is calculated simply by dividing that (the highest known to be safe) by 10, 'just to be on the safe side'. And that's still a large dose.

Basically in terms of the ratio between what you normally take and what it takes to do you in, vitamin D is one of the safest chemicals there is. Oh yeah, and if you go out in the sun for about 15 minutes and sunbathe, that's about 10,000 IU, right there, made by your own skin.

Pretty much the only people that have ever died of vitamin D overdose were on special pills from their doctor that were 100x stronger; it's *incredibly* rare.

Actually, vitamin D *deficiency* is very common; like 20-30% of the population.
-Temp123

Using a combination of topical ibuprofen (5% sports gel) on face together with 10% tea tree cream. The combo works really well, excellent clearance, invisible, no bleaching, zero irritation, no dry skin, just smooth, (mostly) clear skin.

Topical ibuprofen is available in supermarkets in the UK (own brands are cheapest).

#32 yepican

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 07:05 PM

QUOTE (temp123 @ Jun 6 2009, 06:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ok, there's some slight inaccuracies in this thread:

a) when you stop taking vitamin A overdose the high level of vitamin A in your blood goes back to normal in under about a week, NOT months

b) however... the toxicity that you got from ODing on vitamin A can take several months to recover... you've literally been poisoning yourself; the good news is that it's rare that you will have any long term bad effects from it, but you wouldn't want to get toxicity because among other things it does BAD things to your liver (and your hair will fall out, and it doesn't *always* regrow, but nearly always does), but as I say, it will normally sort itself out in less than a year.

c) the toxicity is much the same as you get with accutane, but less safe (accutane is a version of vitamin A that has relatively low toxicity as these things go)


Somebody mentioned vitamin D. Basically forget about vitamin D. A toxic dose of vitamin D is about a whole bottle of pills per day everyday for three months. That's the acute toxicity.

For chronic dosing. the experiments there have been done say that if you're taking less than about 10,000-20,000 IU per day everyday for the rest of your life then you probably won't ever reach toxicity. FWIW a single pill is usually about 200 IU. So that's 50 pills everyday, and nobody is known to have died. The maximum *recommended* is calculated simply by dividing that (the highest known to be safe) by 10, 'just to be on the safe side'. And that's still a large dose.

Basically in terms of the ratio between what you normally take and what it takes to do you in, vitamin D is one of the safest chemicals there is. Oh yeah, and if you go out in the sun for about 15 minutes and sunbathe, that's about 10,000 IU, right there, made by your own skin.

Pretty much the only people that have ever died of vitamin D overdose were on special pills from their doctor that were 100x stronger; it's *incredibly* rare.

Actually, vitamin D *deficiency* is very common; like 20-30% of the population.


Yea, I stopped taking all of my supplements in late Novemeber of last year, but still am having slight symptoms of vitamin a toxicity....(been reducing month-to-month)

-slightly dry lips
-desquamation in parts of my face and upper neck
-sporadic, abnormal hair shedding
-intercranial pressure whenever i really exert myself in intense physical activity

and it can't be because of the weather cuz it's summer here with an average temperature each day from 60-85 degrees.

i read on this website (cant post link cuz mods will delete and/or ban me for a short-time) that it takes 200-300 days for the excess vitamin a to be used by my body.....
i figured the RDA for vitamin a for one year is around 1,000,000 iu's (365X3000)....
over the course of one year i consumed around 4,300,000 iu's (365X12000) in preformed vitamin a from supplements alone, not including all the other vitamin a i got from milk, ice-cream, cheese, and other animal origins....so i would say my body is good on vitamin a for a loooooong time. lol
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#33 KarmicKandy

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 07:17 PM

Why didn't you just go on accutane?

#34 yepican

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 07:21 PM

QUOTE (KarmicKandy @ Jun 6 2009, 09:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Why didn't you just go on accutane?


my acne wasn't really bad at all, so a doctor would have never presribed it for me. i was dumb and naive and should have stopped as soon as i saw the symptoms arise, but i ignored them for about 14 months before i finally stopped....but even then i didn't realize for sure that the cause of my symptoms was from excess vitamin a until about 2 months ago.
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#35 temp123

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 07:49 PM

QUOTE (yepican @ Jun 7 2009, 02:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i read on this website (cant post link cuz mods will delete and/or ban me for a short-time) that it takes 200-300 days for the excess vitamin a to be used by my body.....
i figured the RDA for vitamin a for one year is around 1,000,000 iu's (365X3000)....
over the course of one year i consumed around 4,300,000 iu's (365X12000) in preformed vitamin a from supplements alone, not including all the other vitamin a i got from milk, ice-cream, cheese, and other animal origins....so i would say my body is good on vitamin a for a loooooong time. lol

What I believe happens is that if you take too much retinoid form vitamin A then the liver fills up, and then it overflows into the body. The stores in your liver probably hangs around for a year, but the toxic levels of vitamin A in the blood is gone within hours/days. You have to be careful though, your stores are still high at that point and eating foods with retinoids like liver/cod liver oil are a bad idea for at least a month or so.

I'm a bit surprised you still have the dry lips though; when I came off accutane that went quite quickly.
-Temp123

Using a combination of topical ibuprofen (5% sports gel) on face together with 10% tea tree cream. The combo works really well, excellent clearance, invisible, no bleaching, zero irritation, no dry skin, just smooth, (mostly) clear skin.

Topical ibuprofen is available in supermarkets in the UK (own brands are cheapest).

#36 yepican

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 08:11 PM

QUOTE (temp123 @ Jun 6 2009, 09:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (yepican @ Jun 7 2009, 02:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i read on this website (cant post link cuz mods will delete and/or ban me for a short-time) that it takes 200-300 days for the excess vitamin a to be used by my body.....
i figured the RDA for vitamin a for one year is around 1,000,000 iu's (365X3000)....
over the course of one year i consumed around 4,300,000 iu's (365X12000) in preformed vitamin a from supplements alone, not including all the other vitamin a i got from milk, ice-cream, cheese, and other animal origins....so i would say my body is good on vitamin a for a loooooong time. lol

What I believe happens is that if you take too much retinoid form vitamin A then the liver fills up, and then it overflows into the body. The stores in your liver probably hangs around for a year, but the toxic levels of vitamin A in the blood is gone within hours/days. You have to be careful though, your stores are still high at that point and eating foods with retinoids like liver/cod liver oil are a bad idea for at least a month or so.

I'm a bit surprised you still have the dry lips though; when I came off accutane that went quite quickly.


Yea I'm surprised too about the dry lips, but I basically took too much vitamin a for a year and a half and for about 14 of those months i saw symtpoms of dry skin and a little hair loss but didnt trace it to vitamin a initially. accutane is a derivative of vitamin a so perhaps the side effects experienced from accutane is less potent than pure retinol, and that's why victims of accutane side effects see their symptoms subside more quickly??? don't quote me on that, that's just something i've hypothesized.
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#37 KarmicKandy

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 02:05 PM

QUOTE (yepican @ Jun 6 2009, 09:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (KarmicKandy @ Jun 6 2009, 09:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Why didn't you just go on accutane?


my acne wasn't really bad at all, so a doctor would have never presribed it for me. i was dumb and naive and should have stopped as soon as i saw the symptoms arise, but i ignored them for about 14 months before i finally stopped....but even then i didn't realize for sure that the cause of my symptoms was from excess vitamin a until about 2 months ago.

ohh...i see. Good luck.

PS - DON'T take zinc. It raises vitamin A levels.

#38 temp123

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 02:38 PM

People with acne often have zinc deficiency, and zinc has been shown to improve acne.
-Temp123

Using a combination of topical ibuprofen (5% sports gel) on face together with 10% tea tree cream. The combo works really well, excellent clearance, invisible, no bleaching, zero irritation, no dry skin, just smooth, (mostly) clear skin.

Topical ibuprofen is available in supermarkets in the UK (own brands are cheapest).

#39 yepican

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 07:59 PM

@karmickandy

yea, i've looked around the web for some more research on the correlation of hypervitaminosis a and high zinc intake, but all i could find was that experts agree zinc is vital in vitamin a absorption....
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#40 WhiterShade

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 12:36 AM

Huh, there are some interesting posts in this thread. I'm not sure about this...

QUOTE (yepican @ Jun 6 2009, 05:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (KarmicKandy @ Jun 6 2009, 09:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Why didn't you just go on accutane?

my acne wasn't really bad at all, so a doctor would have never presribed it for me.

If your acne wasn't really bad at all, was vitamin A worth the risk? Seems like if a doctor won't prescribe you Accutane, it's probably a bad idea to circumvent the doctor's recommendations and self-medicate with vitamin A (which as several people have mentioned, is actually more dangerous). It just seems like an unnecessary risk if your acne wasn't even that bad. I'm confused.

QUOTE (temp123 @ Jun 6 2009, 02:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
the toxicity that you got from ODing on vitamin A can take several months to recover... you've literally been poisoning yourself; the good news is that it's rare that you will have any long term bad effects from it

That's usually true...but there are people who suffer long-term side effects from Accutane for months, even years after taking it. I imagine the same thing could happen with vitamin A. You're probably fine, but maybe a blood test would be a good idea to make sure there's no harm done.

QUOTE (yepican @ May 27 2009, 01:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So my advice to anyone out there listening would be to test different variables yourself and don't listen to mainstream "common sense".

Haha, I actually got the opposite message from your story...seems the advice should be "Don't experiment with supplements without some guidance, and listen to common sense."

QUOTE (temp123 @ Jun 7 2009, 12:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
People with acne often have zinc deficiency

That's really interesting. Do you remember where you learned that? I'd like to see the source if you still have it...
My Skin Care Arsenal:
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Aveeno Active Naturals Face SPF 30
Eucerin Redness Relief Moisturizer
Desert Essence Jojoba Oil
TwinLabs Fish Oil
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Completed Accutane 4.21.09 (click to read about it)

Status: Clear