Vitamin A

Optimal Result: 20.1 - 62 ug/dL, or 0.72 - 2.21 umol/L.

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.



What does it mean if your Vitamin A result is too low?

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

What does it mean if your Vitamin A result is too high?

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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