Soundbite From Our Scientists: Vitamin A in Pregnancy

Is it safe to supplement with Vitamin A during pregnancy?

Yes.  Vitamin A is vital for the growing fetus and is an important part of every healthy di

The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for women of child bearing age is 2,300 IUs. During pregnancy the RDA increases to 2500 IUs per day and during lactation the RDA for Vitamin A increases to 4300, with a tolerable upper limit of 10,000 IUs per day.  The lowest observed adverse event level is 46,000 IUs per day. 

Daily Essential Nutrients contains 5,760 IUs when taking 12 capsules per day which is about half of the tolerable upper level that is safe to take every day for a lifetime.

A study that was conducted in the mid-1990s by the Institute of Health through the Department of Child Health and Human Development found no association between Vitamin A exposure at limits greater than 10000 IUs and birth defects.  If Vitamin A caused birth defects it would be at levels much higher than the levels provided in Daily Essential Nutrients.  Of course, the best source of Vitamin A is through diet.

The study mentions the following:

"Vitamin A plays an essential role during fetal development; however, if consumed at high doses it can produce teratogenic effects. Intakes of vitamin A
less than 10,000 IU per day during pregnancy have not been associated with birth defects. However, there are conflicting results for intakes of 10,000 IU to 30,000 IU per day. Intakes of vitamin A greater than 10,000 IU per day are not recommended for well-nourished pregnant women."