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Is excessive intake of Vitamin A harmful to the body?

Q: Dr. Oz in his latest book published this year entitled You: The Owner's Manual, says that it could be dangerous to take vitamin A in excess of IU 2500 per day. Some research quoted by him says that it can cause lung cancer and arterosclerois if vitamin A is taken in excess of IU 2500. I regularly consume 1 capsule Becadexamin, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline India, per day which contains vitamin A IU 5000. I am very worried about this. Is it OK to continue taking Becadexamin 1 capsule per day.

A:You have not mentioned the reason for your taking a tablet of multi-vitamin every day. Unless there is proven and documented deficiency, the consumption of multi-vitamins leads to overvitaminosis and even worse, dependence on external vitamin supplements. The normal Indian diet contains adequate amounts of vitamins. Unfortunately due to lack of knowledge on the part of people, lax implementation of laws governing the promotion of medicines by drug companies and sometimes casual attitude of the medical professional has led to India becoming the highest per capita consumer of vitamins, cough syrups and so-called tonics - all help pharma companies to get richer and richer! Overdose of vitamin A (i.e. supplement plus normal supply in the diet) leads to birth defects in babies whose mothers take such supplements and fatigue, irritability, vomiting, loss of appetite, enlargement of spleen and liver, siestivity of the skin to sunlight, loss of scalp hair, dry hair, cracking of lips, headache, high calcium levels in blood etc. Chronic toxicity can lead to raised pressure in the brain (confused with brain tumour), tinnitus and visual disturbances.

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