Vitamin A: a pregnancy hazard alert

Kenneth W Kizer, A. M. Fan, J. Bankowska, R. J. Jackson, D. O. Lyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Vitamin A is essential to human health, but concerns have arisen recently regarding its potential teratogenicity. Human and animal birth defects have been associated with the use of the vitamin A analogue, isotretinoin, or Accutane, for acne treatment, although the association of such defects with vitamin A itself is unclear. The federal Food and Drug Administration is evaluating the health issues surrounding vitamin A and, together with the manufacturer, has developed restrictions and label warnings to ensure the appropriate use of Accutane. We also have evaluated these issues, with concerns about possible teratogenicity of high vitamin A intake during pregnancy. Practitioners should be familiar with the possible hazard of excessive dosages of vitamin A and its analogues. Vitamin A daily doses of higher than 8,000 IU for pregnant woman are not necessary for good health and are not recommended. Foods high in β-carotene can provide the necessary amounts of vitamin A and, in contrast to the synthetic analogues, their use has not been associated with vitamin A toxicity or teratogenicity in humans or animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-81
Number of pages4
JournalWestern Journal of Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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