What can I do About a Vitamin a Deficiency?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 January 2020
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There are several approaches which can be used to manage a vitamin A deficiency. In all cases, the goal is to increase consumption and absorption of vitamin A for the purpose of correcting the deficiency, and people often experience an improvement within a few days of addressing the issue. As in the case of any medical condition, it is important to consult a doctor about vitamin A deficiency before treating it to address specific issues and concerns which pertain to the patient.

In people who eat a balanced diet, vitamin A deficiencies are very rare. Beef, liver, chicken, eggs, leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, and mangoes are all excellent sources of vitamin A, as are fortified foods such as milk and cereal. Most commonly, a vitamin A deficiency arises as the result of malnutrition, although it can also be caused by medical conditions which interfere with fat absorption, because vitamin A is fat soluble. Individuals with liver disease, iron deficiencies, and alcoholism can also develop a vitamin A deficiency.


Generally, the immediate treatment for vitamin A deficiency is supplementation with vitamin A to reach the recommended daily allowance. In men, around 900 micrograms a day should be consumed, while women need approximately 700 micrograms. In the case of someone with a deficiency caused by dietary habits, lifestyle changes should address the issue and prevent the deficiency from recurring. In the case of individuals with underlying medical conditions which are causing or contributing to the deficiency, it is important to treat these conditions in addition to the deficiency.

People with a vitamin A deficiency usually experience vision problems such as spotting, poor night vision, and blindness first, with symptoms such as dry, cracked skin following. Because some other medical conditions can cause similar symptoms, doctors usually like to interview patients before confirming that a vitamin A deficiency is the issue, and a doctor may recommend appropriate treatment. In some cases, medical testing may be used to rule out other medical issues, or to monitor the patient's progress during treatment.

It is possible to overdose on vitamin A. Taking more than 10 times the recommended amount per day can cause health problems, with the treatment for overdose being a reduction in the amount of vitamin A consumed. Patients may want to be aware that it is a good idea to take supplements with food to increase their absorption, and that it is best to space out supplements in multiple small doses over the course of the day, rather than taking them all at once. This increases the chance that they will be fully absorbed.



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Post 1

Lack of calories, as in malnutrition, can be a cause of vitamin A deficiency, because the vitamin can not be transported efficiently throughout the body. Sufficient calorie intake will help with this condition.

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