T Nation

Vitamin A in Fish Oil


I keep hearing about taking more fish oil but will it cause me to go out side the maximum safe dose for Vit A?


daft question i suppose when you see what eskimos consume.


I've read on mercola.com and many other sources that you can't o.d. on vitamin a, and not to worry about it. from memory i think you only go toxic on it if its a SHIT load of artifical vit a or something.


now I know mercola is a choad, but I didnt think he was this big of a choad.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):191-201.

The acute and chronic toxic effects of vitamin A.

Penniston KL, Tanumihardjo SA.

Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

The acute and chronic effects of vitamin A toxicity are well documented in the literature. Emerging evidence suggests that subtoxicity without clinical signs of toxicity may be a growing concern, because intake from preformed sources of vitamin A often exceeds the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for adults, especially in developed countries.

Osteoporosis and hip fracture are associated with preformed vitamin A intakes that are only twice the current RDA. Assessing vitamin A status in persons with subtoxicity or toxicity is complicated because serum retinol concentrations are nonsensitive indicators in this range of liver vitamin A reserves. The metabolism in well-nourished persons of preformed vitamin A, provided by either liver or supplements, has been studied by several research groups. To control vitamin A deficiency, large therapeutic doses are administered in developing countries to women and children, who often are undernourished.

Nevertheless, little attention has been given to the short-term kinetics (ie, after absorption but before storage) of a large dose of vitamin A or to the short- and long-term effects of such a dose given to lactating women on serum and breast-milk concentrations of retinol and its metabolites.

Moreover, appropriate dosing regimens have not been systematically evaluated to ascertain the quantitative improvement in vitamin A status of the women and children who receive these supplements. The known acute and chronic effects of vitamin A toxicity have been reported previously. However, further research is needed to ascertain the areas of the world in which subclinical toxicity exists and to evaluate its effects on overall health and well-being.


You'll need to consume somewhere in the realm of 100,000 IU synthetic vitamin A for several months for it to become toxic. There's nothing to fear.


is that a realistic figure or are you just pulling it out of your ass.. . also do we know how much exactly is in all the food and supplements we take? Im not so sure myself.. . but I eat plenty of dairy and get carrots served up consistantly.. . that plus the omega 3s Im taking is probably way too much total vitamin A. ..


Don't be a dick.

The number I mentioned is a case where people overdosed on vitamin A capsules for months. Only instant cases are people eating a large animal's liver and getting several millions IU. But even then the symptoms cleared up after they stopped/reduced consumption.

You'll have to try really really hard to get those numbers in a regular diet, especially if you weight train.


Naturally occurring vitamin A is toxic if too much is consumed. If you start experiencing hair loss then you may want to check your dosage. Beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A, is not toxic.

If the body doesn't need vitamin A, then it won't convert the beta carotene to vitamin A. Beta carotene is what most supplements contain, and it is often referred to as vitamin A. The label should say something like "Vitamin A (as beta carotene)" if the synthetic form is used.

Cod liver oil has the naturally occurring vitamin A, although the fish oil supplements I normally take have had the vitamin A removed. In case any one is going on a hunting trip to the North Pole, Polar bear liver has enough natural vitamin A to kill a human with one taste.


Most fish oil supplements that are not Cod Liver Oil probably just contain a smallish amount of Vit E. Use these instead.


I agree with what ggath2 said.

Vitamin A is definitely toxic in high doses, but normal fish oil is not high in vitamin A. Cod liver oils and other fish liver oils are richer in vitamins A and D, but the fish oil you take for its Omega-3s is from other parts of the fish, not the liver.

Conclusion: you won't overdose on vitamin A from consuming normal fish oil capsules.


My multi-vitamin has 10,000 IU, and I'm sure I get aroun 5,000-10,000 IU's more from my diet. On the multi-vit. bottle, it says to not exceed the 10,000 IU's in the bottle, which doesn't make sense since anyone that eats would get more Vit. A from there food.