Problems Converting Beta Carotene to Vitamin A

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Hi all, I've been reading the forums looking for info on converting Beta Carotene to Vitamin A.

I had excess Beta Carotene on my last lab and have routinely had low Vitamin A in times of severe illness, which presented as symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency. I was not taking any supplements at all for a year prior to that lab test. Vitamin D was dipping into low, but after winter and not being outside much at all, that's not that bad.

I know that there are genetic reasons that can make the conversion process difficult although I don't think I have that because I was healthy through childhood into my 20's. What other issues could be in the way of converting or utilizing vitamin A?

Unfortunately, tolerating supplementation of A & D has been an issue in the past, caused other symptoms, sometimes paradoxical reactions. So if anyone has ideas for ways around that issue, that would be so helpful. I'm wondering if anything topical could help. Meanwhile, I guess I will eat lots of tuna fish and eggs? I'd appreciate any thoughts :)
 
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nerd

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I know that there are genetic reasons that can make the conversion process difficult although I don't think I have that because I was healthy through childhood into my 20's. What other issues could be in the way of converting or utilizing vitamin A?
You don't necessarily feel this during your younger ages. I have a genetic predisposition for Vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin deficiencies are only brought to bear once you have an additional condition such as CFS/ME. Everyone has some nutritionally-relevant predispositions. It's not always pathologically relevant that you feel this as a child and don't grow up properly if you don't treat it. I can't think of any other reason why beta carotene wouldn't be metabolized to retinoic acid.
 

pamojja

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A 100g can of cod-liver could contain more than 50.000 IUs. Having had low serum retinol too, it took me in average 4700 mcg/d (15.650 IU/d) during the last 12 years to bring levels up. meanwhile my taste for cod-liver has disappeared.
 

pattismith

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Hi all, I've been reading the forums looking for info on converting Beta Carotene to Vitamin A.

I had excess Beta Carotene on my last lab and have routinely had low Vitamin A in times of severe illness, which presented as symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency. I was not taking any supplements at all for a year prior to that lab test. Vitamin D was dipping into low, but after winter and not being outside much at all, that's not that bad.

I know that there are genetic reasons that can make the conversion process difficult although I don't think I have that because I was healthy through childhood into my 20's. What other issues could be in the way of converting or utilizing vitamin A?

Unfortunately, tolerating supplementation of A & D has been an issue in the past, caused other symptoms, sometimes paradoxical reactions. So if anyone has ideas for ways around that issue, that would be so helpful. I'm wondering if anything topical could help. Meanwhile, I guess I will eat lots of tuna fish and eggs? I'd appreciate any thoughts :)
You don't necessarily feel this during your younger ages. I have a genetic predisposition for Vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin deficiencies are only brought to bear once you have an additional condition such as CFS/ME. Everyone has some nutritionally-relevant predispositions. It's not always pathologically relevant that you feel this as a child and don't grow up properly if you don't treat it. I can't think of any other reason why beta carotene wouldn't be metabolized to retinoic acid.
Do you know your ferritine level?

The enzyme converting carotene to retinol needs iron, so poor conversion can be from iron deficiency
 

nerd

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Do you know your ferritine level?

The enzyme converting carotene to retinol needs iron, so poor conversion can be from iron deficiency
It's at the lower end. But the genetic predisposition makes it difficult regardless. So I have to take retinol.
 
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@Tiger Lily 813 I was just searching for this topic because my genome analysis says I'm a poor converter of beta carotene to vitamin a, only about 50% efficient. The gene is called BCMO 1 and the enzyme is beta-carotene monooxidase. I was pretty healthy until my 20s, but I remember that I've always had keratosis pilaris, little bumps on my skin, which is one of the symptoms of vitamin a deficiency. So I'll take vitamin a from now on and I'm curious what's going to happen to my skin (and maybe immune system?). I hope I can tolerate it, haven't considered this before reading your post.
 
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I see he wrote a book that says vitamin a is toxic and causes autoimmune diseases and he said he cured his two symptoms of vitamin a deficiency by not eating onions anymore.

I don't know. I have a background in nutrition and this is hard for me to believe. The quality of life of millions of people has been improved by eating "golden rice", which is fortified with vitamin a.

(Also his view on viruses in his first post caught my eye. He says they don't exist and what we measure are just wrong proteins produced by our cells. But this is exactly what a virus is, they are not considered living organisms and rely on their hosts to propagate. They're just made of DNA or RNA sequences protected by a shell and can't replicate on their own. So he's basically right but he's making it sound like the complicated science behind viruses is wrong.)

Thank you for posting this resource though! Forgive me if I have problems believing this author. He's probably controversial and at the moment I choose not to deal with his views in detail. I don't mean to disregard any of this or get in a discussion, I just wanted to add what I learned about vitamin a (and viruses) at uni, in case someone else reads this and wonders about input from another point of view.
 

pamojja

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If there is some controversy about an essential nutrient, its always worthwhile starting low dose and increase gradually over weeks months and years. I believe much of the negative experiences with retinol comes from the neccesity of single nutrients to be dependend on a whole lot of others we don't even know about yet. But most importantly vitamin D3, Ks and magnesium. Also doing lab-testing on serum retinol (and vitamin D and Mg) to see what doses bring you to which levels. Which can be very individual.

By now I've reached retinol serum levels just below the upper end of normal, and reduced intake a bit. The difficulty thereby is: we don't even know 'normal' retinol levels, when it was still normal to eat weekly offal.. ..and my gusto for Codliver has come back too.

..not 1 bad effect from taking retinol. Now supplementing for almost 14 year now 4500mcg, or 15.000 IU daily in average (+200mcg Vitamin D3 +1800mg Mg +52mg zinc).
..instead remissions (PAD, COPD, T2D, and constant PEM).

By the way, just found out in the EU supplemental retinol and zinc above 5mg will be prohibited within about 2 years. Only supplemental Beta Carotene allowed anymore. It really seems some don't like remissions from chronic diseases.

https://www.burgerstein-foundation....medium=E-Mail&utm_campaign=newsletter_D_mai22
 
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What other issues could be in the way of converting or utilizing vitamin A?
For reasons not fully understood by science, most of the human race hs problems converting carotene to usable Vit A.

The anti-supplements group used this to disprove any possible benefits from taking vits and/or minerals. They used a study on Vit A, which was believed to reduce lung cancer risks, that utilized Skid Row homeless as proof that Vit A was useless .... and the study used beta-carotene (not mixed carotenids) as the source of the Vit A utilized in that study ....

A number of the participants subsequently died from various forms of cancer, lung being prevalent ....
I didn't know that it's possible to be deficient in carotene to vit A conversion.. genetic freak I guess?
Apprently not all that freakish ....
It's at the lower end. But the genetic predisposition makes it difficult regardless. So I have to take retinol.
Taking Vit A in the form of retinol would be my best choice for actually getting usable Vit A. Carotenes require your body to do a lot of conversions and adjustments to convert it into a form of Vit A that your body can actually use.

Carotenes in limited amounts have other benefits ( for instance Beta Carotene is a powerful anti-oxidant), but bioavailable Vit A doesnt seem to be one of them ....
 
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If there is some controversy about an essential nutrient, its always worthwhile starting low dose and increase gradually over weeks months and years.
Thanks, I wasn't sure about the approach because clinical vitamin a deficiency is treated by loading up in the beginning, followed by maintenance doses, but this seemed like a drastic approach for my fragile cfs body. So I'll rather take it slow, like you.

By the way, just found out in the EU supplemental retinol and zinc above 5mg will be prohibited within about 2 years. Only supplemental Beta Carotene allowed anymore. It really seems some don't like remissions from chronic diseases
So annoying... especially knowing that I can't convert beta-carotene so well. At least we can take cod liver oil instead, however I don't like that the exact amount of vitamin a doesn't have to be disclosed on these oils.
What is weird about these statements, is that they say they will adapt Swiss law to EU law. But in the EU, supplement doses are way higher than what they state in the tables...

For reasons not fully understood by science, most of the human race hs problems converting carotene to usable Vit A.
Thank you so much for saying this. Anytime I mention something like this on Reddit I get downvoted to hell. The reason I'd suggest is that our ancestors ate plenty of organ meat and therefore had a great intake of vitamin a, so there was never a need to be a good beta-carotene converter. But this is just a guess.
 
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So I'll rather take it slow, like you.
If PR had a flag, the otto on it would be, "Start low and go slow ..."
Anytime I mention something like this on Reddit I get downvoted to hell.
Yeah, they're mostly smartasses and relentless asshats, with a scattering of occassional real wits, and one of the reasons I have such respect and admiration for the mods here ... it's also the reason that I generally stay wide of Reddit. I cant think of one thing of any value that I ever learned there, but here .... well, that's a whole different thing.

Wait !!! There is ONE good sub-red that often has fascinating info, research, and studies on the human microbiome, which I feel is more tightly connected to ME than it's given credit for.

Anywhich, just hang here with us. We're generally a lot pleasanter, and better informed, than much of Reddit, but then it's a deep and endless Tardis and I'm sure there's good stuff buried there. I just dont have the energy or inclination to ferret it out ....
But this is just a guess.
It's a good one. No ones sure why, it is a conundrum .... but as you said, early man got plenty of retinol A and not all that much carotenoids, and it takes a while to turn this cumbersome human ship....
 
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Yeah, they're mostly smartasses and relentless asshats, with a scattering of occassional real wits
:lol: true. It's sometimes quite radical and less about discussions..

Wait !!! There is ONE good sub-red that often has fascinating info, research, and studies on the human microbiome, which I feel is more tightly connected to ME than it's given credit for.
Yes there is a good one on the microbiome, and a bad one, which is led by this guy who won't allow any other cure for diseases related to the microbiome but FMT.... I also really like the idea that the microbiome has a massive influence on mecfs. However I haven't been able to influence mine in a way that lessens my symptoms (besides GI). Hopefully there will be more research on it.

Anywhich, just hang here with us. We're generally a lot pleasanter, and better informed
Totally. But I'm not going to lie, it's also a bit overwhelming, with all the infos! I'll definitely need more time here.

Soo my vitamin a supplement will be delivered today and I'll let you guy know how it's going in a few weeks!
 
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But I'm not going to lie, it's also a bit overwhelming, with all the infos! I'll definitely need more time here.
I had the same reaction when I first joined. I was in pretty poor condition, and the amount of thinking required to just try and even partially absorb the masses of info here, some of it deeply science-y, almost broke the pathetic lump of what was left of my brain.

But I just persisted, taking in stuff as well as I could, skipping stuff I knew I just wasn't up to, and little by little, slow by slow, the clouds grudgingly parted a bit, and everything very gradually became a little clearer.

I think that that helped my recovery from bedbound clump of protoplasmic misery more than I knew at the time .....