Vitamin A is one of the fat-soluble vitamins required for health. It’s especially important for vision, skin and mucous membranes found surrounding all organs. Vitamin A provides free radical-fighting functions for immunity and for anti-aging. It’s also critical for your thyroid to function properly. Studies in the last decade prove that vitamin A is important for gene expression regulation. This means that different diseases will be turned on if your genes are not “set” properly.
The Vitamin A test detects a deficiency of the vitamin. In children, a vitamin A deficiency will make them more susceptible to infections of all types, and their symptoms will become more severe. Also, the chance they will die from infections increases, with a death rate of more than 50%.
The vitamin A (retinol) test does not test for the Vitamin A plant sources called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, meaning they are converted to vitamin A by metabolism.
Normal Ranges for Vitamin A in mcg/dL:
0-6 years: 11.3-64.7 mcg/dL
7-12 years: 12.8-81.2 mcg/dL
13-17 years: 14.4-97.7 mcg/dL
18 years and above: 32.5-78.0 mcg/dL
Critical Range: <20 mcg/dL indicates supplementation is needed. Levels <10 mcg/dL mean deficiency. Vitamin A levels>120.0 mcg/dL is suggestive of elevated levels and toxicity.
Low vitamin A levels in the body mean there is a deficiency. A deficiency can cause any of the following health issues:
- Inability of the eyes to create tears, called xerophthalmia
- Inability to see at night, called night blindness. This is obvious when driving or when walking through a dark movie theater.
- Dry, scaly skin
- Impaired mucous membranes to keep out infections
- Growth retardation and infections in children
Some specific causes of low vitamin A might be:
- Lack of sufficient vitamin A foods in the diet
- Recent or previous GI surgery
- Liver or gall bladder disorders
- Digestive disorders, especially with impaired fat digestion (Vitamin A needs fat for absorption.)
- Low fat diet
- Cystic fibrosis
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High levels of vitamin A on the vitamin A test indicate there is a toxicity or overload of the vitamin. The condition is especially important to diagnose before and during pregnancy because severe birth defects may occur.
Symptoms of high vitamin A levels include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, bone pain, poor appetite, sensitivity to the sun, hair loss, and confusion.
Some specific causes of high vitamin A might include:
- Overconsumption of liver, especially from hunted animals such as big game (bear, elk, caribou)
- Long-term use of acne treatments that contain the vitamin A compound isotretinoin
- Overzealous supplementation of vitamin A
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Antiparietal Cell Antibody, Calcitriol (1,25 di-OH Vit D), Copper, Pl, Intrinsic Factor Antibodies (Serum), Intrinsic Factor Blocking Antibody, Manganese, Methylmalonic Acid, Serum, Nicotinamide, Nicotinic Acid, Phosphate (Phosphorus), Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Plasma, Vitamin B2, Whole Blood, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9 (Folate), Vitamin C, Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy, Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Zinc, RBC