If I learned one other thing, then it's that anything Nutrition is complicated *sigh*.
So currently I am back on researching the Vitamin A train. There is the big Weston A. Price side, praising Vitamin A, and then there is the lesser known side of Dr. Garrett Smith and Grant Genereux, claiming that vitamin A caused their health issues and is toxic.
I feel the truth is probably somewhere in the middle (and might also be connected to the beautiful part that we are all so very different).
Possible factors might be if natural or synthetic form of Vitamin A is taken. If taken together with co-factors like Vitamin D and K2. Genetic factors.
On my own personal quest, I found out that I have the genetic mutation in the BCMO1 Gene that reduces my ability to convert beta-carotenes to retinol (the active form of Vitamin A). Plus, carotene conversion is low with hypothyroidism, celiac disease, diabetes and so on. I had been a vegan for many years, and in my childhood and teenage years, my diet was less than stellar generally. So you could think I might be quite deficient in Vitamin A. And indeed, when I started eating animal products again, my hair got shinier, and when I was taking Cod Liver Oil, the keratosis pilaris on my upper arms decreased (which also decreased though with lots of sunshine - Vitamin D - and on a raw food vegan diet. Did I mention, nothing in nutrition is simple).
Lately I hadn't been eating many vitamin A rich foods but I had taken a vitamin D supplement (because I also have SNPs in my vitamin D uptake, plus it's winter and I am in Germany at the moment). At first my joints started hurting, which improved when I added in high doses of Vitamin K2. But my hair had become pretty dry again, and most of all, my eyesight had gotten a little worse. I had become extremely short-sighted when I was a kid which I think was due to the amalgam fillings I got around that time. 6 years ago I had my eyes lasered and had great vision since then. Now I noticed a slight worsening again.
So here I am experimenting and researching vitamin A (once more). I had been taken a vitamin A supplement some time ago and got really depressed around that time, which stopped when I stopped taking it. Interestingly, accutane, a popular acne treatment that also contains a synthetic form of Vitamin A (Isotretinoin), can also cause depression.
Back then I had taken retinylpalmitat, not a super high dose. The reason I had stopped cod liver oil, despite it's great effects on my skin and maybe even teeth health, was the fact that it made my blood super thin. When I cut myself, it took forever for the wound to stop bleeding. Not sure that's a good thing.
Of course the first page for my vitamin A research comes from the Weston Price foundation. Glorification of Vitamin A, and it does make sense. Then there are doctors like Dr. Ben Lynch, who is quite an expert on epigenetics, who recommends Vitamin A too, especially for viral effects. Measles-induced blindness is actually a vitamin A deficiency. Giving vitamin A to children in developing countries reduced the mortality rates. Many good studies on vitamin A.
Obviously also studies on the toxicity of vitamin A and the dangers of birth defects when taken in high doses during pregnancy.
And then there are Dr. Garrett Smith and Grant Genereux, claiming that their health issues stem from vitamin A toxicity, and who improved their health on a vitamin A devoid diet basically.
Which is maybe also because so many different diets work for many different people. Maybe it is more about what you take out of your diet. For example veganism. I see a few people thriving on vegan diets (at least that is the official picture in social media, plus we don't know everything about their lives, and not super longterm effects, nor their genetic background). I also see many people failing on a longterm vegan diet (anybody seen Matt Monarch lately? He's always been whacky and extreme though).
I love the idea of a vegan, predominantly raw diet, being the ultimate. I love Dr. Sebi, and Gerson's juicing therapy, and I see people transform their health with greens, greens, greens. BUT, every culture on this planet had always also incorporated some animal products in their diet. It makes sense to me to eat fish (especially when the oceans had been clean in the past) and pastured eggs. I can also see how some traditions make and use butter, cream, and eat organ meats. I came to the conclusion that a vegan (raw) mucus free diet is great for detoxing, but you also need to rebuild and nourish the body. Latest case in this are Dr. Robert Cassar and Danny Glass who turned from raw veganism to the other extreme and became carnivores.
Anyway, I digress.
THis article is supposed to be about vitamin A. Is Vitamin A toxicity really common and causing a lot of problems? A lot of processed foods are fortified with vitamin A.
I guess, in the end it once more is about balance and finding the middle ground. If you took accutane for a long time, or high dose vitamin A supplements, or lots of fortified foods, or liver daily - you might get problems from vitamin A toxicity. Liver and organ foods were definitel not eaten on a daily basis. If you are a vegan with a low conversion rate of carotenes to retinol, or eat lots of nutrient devoid foods, you might end up with a defiency.
The problem with every nutrient is excess as well as deficiency.
For now I will experiment a bit more with supplementing A as well as D and K2, as one of my big goals this year is to remineralise my teeth. I believe that back then my depression from the vitamin A might have been caused by a deficiency of vitamin D.
Edit: Of course there is also the interaction of vitamin A and zinc. Oh, zinc. There are some studies suggesting that low zinc levels inhibit the absorption and use of vitamin A. I wonder if the same could lead to vitamin A toxicity then in some individuals.
Edit: Watching Dr. Garrett Smith's videos on Vitamin A and D: