I have read that VITAMIN A in large doses is toxic to an unborn baby and that the best form of VITAMIN A is the Beta-carotene form. Please will you clarify this for me?
Vitamin A is essential for retinal function, growth, bone development, for integrity of epithelial tissues and reproduction.
This is an extract from the SAMF (South African Medicines Formulary), which is a reference book that all health care professionals should have on their desk - "when supplementation is indicated, doses exceeding
6 000 iu of vitamin A daily are not recommended in pregnancy or lactation."
Vitamin A is safe to use and essential during pregnancy, however it is not recommended that the dose exceeds 6 000 iu. Studies have shown that doses in excess of 10 000 iu may cause teratogenicity in the foetus.
Vitamin A comes in two forms, either as preformed vitamin A or as one of a range of pro-vitamins called carotenoids. Beta-carotene is the most well known of these carotenoids, which actually convert themselves into vitamin A once digested. Thus, whether you take vitamin A as a preformed vitamin A or Beta-carotene it will be converted in the body to vitamin A.
All of the pre-natal vitamins on the market do contain vitamin A or Beta-carotene and have been scientifically formulated to give mom and baby just the right amounts that are needed.
Anastasia Dobson-du Toit
(B.Pharm; B.Com; MBA)
Technical Director & Responsible Pharmacist