Prescription creams and pills that contain retinoids, a synthetic form of vitamin A, are used to help get rid of severe acne and psoriasis. They have also shown promise for treating other skin disorders, warts, and premature aging caused by the sun. Recent studies show that topical formulations, along with antioxidants, can help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These medications require close supervision by a doctor.
Isotretinoin (Accutane), an oral acne medication, can cause very serious side effects and should not be used by pregnant women or women of child-bearing age who are not taking contraceptives. If you take any of these medications, separate the doses from the vitamin A dose by at least 2 hours. Before taking vitamin A, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it or if you have any other allergies. A double-masked, randomized clinical trial of high-dose vitamin A and vitamin E supplementation after photorefractive keratectomy.
The recommended average daily amounts of preformed vitamin A and provitamin A carotenoids are listed below in micrograms (mcg) of retinol activity equivalent (RAE). Vitamin A supplements may help to slightly delay the damage caused by retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited condition that causes poor night vision. People who have liver disease or diabetes should not take vitamin A supplements without their doctor's supervision. These levels don't apply to people who take vitamin A for medical reasons under a doctor's care.
The body can also make vitamin A from beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which are fat-soluble nutrients found in fruits and vegetables and that give them their color. Vitamin A plays vital roles in vision, epithelial differentiation, growth, reproduction, pattern formation during embryogenesis, bone development, hematopoiesis, and brain development. In addition, people taking orlistat with a prescription or Alli without a prescription may want to take a multivitamin. In areas of the world where vitamin A deficiency is widespread or where at least 1% of people with measles die, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends giving vitamin A supplements to children who have measles.
If you are being treated for cancer, see your oncologist before taking vitamin A or any supplement. All supplements containing olestra contain vitamin A. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that vitamin A and other fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins D, E, and K) be added to food products containing olestra. Vitamin A is available in dietary supplements, usually in the form of retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate (preformed vitamin A), beta-carotene (provitamin A), or a combination of preformed and provitamin A.