Vitamin D help please - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 06:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The nurse from my dr's office called yesterday and told me my blood had tested deficient in vitamin d. She immediately said she was calling in an RX for a D supplement to my pharmacy and when I told her I would like to find a whole food source or at least a whole foods supplement She said "This is what the dr wants you to take to get past your deficiency." Um, excuse me? Whose body are we talking about? I think I have a say in things. Anyway, enough rant, now on to my question:

Can someone remind me of good food sources and also a good supplement made with whole foods? Its hard to tell when reading a bottle if it man made or not. They told me I need 4000 IUs/day of D3. Any info on D deficiency would be great. Thanks!

.
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#2 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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Here are some sources of vitamin D. As you can see, fish are pretty much the only major dietary source of vitamin D, though there is a very small amount of it in eggs and liver. It really wouldn't be possible to get anywhere close to the 4000 IU daily from just food. You could do it using fish oil, I guess, but be very careful about that because fish oil also generally has a lot of vitamin A, and consuming enough to get that much vitamin D would cause you to overdose on A which can make you very sick.

My advice would be to just take the pills, in this case, at least until the defficiency is corrected then reevaluate how you feel about them then and decide whether to continue with them or try to get enough from diet to maintain levels.
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#3 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the link. Good info there. I thought that I read somewhere that man made D was hard for your body to absorb and can be toxic to your system? So I'm wondering if it really would do me any good to take the Rx because of that.

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#4 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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Vitamin D deficiency is really hard to correct when you're also taking in a lot of preformed/retinol vitamin A. So you don't have a food source option. You also don't want that prescription. You want a D3 form and prescriptions are D2 which you're right isn't a good choice. I'm taking 9,000 IU per day of D3 but you could start with 4,000 IU and retest in six weeks or so to see where you are/if you need more. Personally I'd start with 5,000 IU (which is what I did, I needed more but it was winter so you might have better luck with lower doses in the summer). You can get 5,000 IU pills online cheaper than you can take 4 1,000 IU's a day. So I'd do the bigger.

Information on treating a deficiency (including why the RX isn't the choice to make): http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/treatment.shtml
Why many people suggest not using cod liver oil to try to correct a deficiency:
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/newsl...december.shtml

Look over the site. It's got lots of information. But I don't see a way to correct an actual deficiency with food. You might find out how low you were. If you're below 30 (I suspect you are) I'd do more than 4,000 IU personally.

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#5 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 07:24 PM
 
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ITA with the suggestion to take a supplement, but not the one your dr prescribed. I can't imagine your dr would have a problem if you took 4,000 mg of vitamin D from an OTC pill (or 4 OTC pills per day if you can only find 1,000 mg pills) rather than the pills s/he prescribed.

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#6 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 07:33 PM
 
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Hooray for your doctor testing your levels! I'm so glad to see this starting. My midwife tested mine as part of a normal screening. I wish SO much someone would have done this for me 10 years ago. I believe if I had corrected my levels that I probably wouldn't have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005.

I am taking 4,000 IU a day and trying to raise my levels. I have done a TON of research by reading studies and information published on Vitamin D. It is completely safe and needed by our bodies. There is NO good way to get enough Vitamin D via diet. Our bodies are meant to get Vitamin D from the sun but sometimes the sun isn't enough. Some of us seem to be genetically predisposed to not get what we need from the sun (and you really do have to be out in the strong UVB rays for quite a while to get enough as it is.) I was taking 1,000 to 2,000 IU and getting sunlight and my levels only raised a little. So now I'm taking more to get it in the normal range.

My guess is that if your doctor suggested 4,000 IU that you are severely deficient. According to the latest research, this may put you at a greater risk for all kinds of cancers and autoimmune diseases.

I'd take 4,000 IU a day without question and have levels retested after six months. Try to get to the upper range of normal, not bare minimum (e.g. 32 is still too low, 80-90 is best!)

If you are looking for a nice pure supplement, this is the brand I use with my toddler (it comes in 400 IU, 1,000 IU and 2,000 IU sizes - you could use 2 drops of the 2,000 IU)

http://www.vitacost.com/Carlson-Vitamin-D-Drops

Ingredients: Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), Fractionated Coconut Oil.
Free Of Sugar, Soy, Corn, Wheat, Gluten, Artificial Coloring, or Preservatives.

This site is good for some basic Vitamin D info (and they offer an at-home test for Vitamin D through ZRT labs.)

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

ETA: Oh, I forgot to add that you want to take D3 (Cholecalciferol) NOT the synthetic plant-based D2 (Ergocalciferol)

Me (37) ~ DH (39) ~ DS (3) ~ TTC #2 since 4/10
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#7 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 07:43 PM
 
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You want a D3 form and prescriptions are D2 which you're right isn't a good choice.
The OP said the prescription was for D3. I don't think doctors recommend/prescribe D2 any more. However, while D3 is the preferred form and more easily used by the body, I do know of vegans who have been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency and used D2 to raise their levels to normal fairly rapidly (D3 is from animal origin and so not vegan, D2 is from plants).
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#8 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes, my level was very low at 26. Thank you for all the good info. So, it sounds like if my dr prescribed the cholecalciferol i should take that? I need to call the pharmacy and see exactly what the Rx was for. Or would it be better to find cholcalciferol over the counter?

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#9 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 08:31 PM
 
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You need preformed vitamin A to work with and prevent vitamin D toxicity, that is why cod liver oil is such a terrific and traditional source of these vitamins. This is one issue the Vitamin D Council is absolutely wrong on.

Vitamin A on Trial

http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnut...ina-osteo.html

I would do a combination of cod liver oil (Radiant Life or Blue Ice) and a D3 supplement from Carlson's or Solgar to get your levels up. Where do you live?
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#10 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by JaneS View Post
You need preformed vitamin A to work with and prevent vitamin D toxicity, that is why cod liver oil is such a terrific and traditional source of these vitamins. This is one issue the Vitamin D Council is absolutely wrong on.

Vitamin A on Trial

http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnut...ina-osteo.html

I would do a combination of cod liver oil (Radiant Life or Blue Ice) and a D3 supplement from Carlson's or Solgar to get your levels up. Where do you live?
Thanks, I'm a tf eater and tend to go in the wapf way of thinking so I appreciate that. I'm in oregon.

.
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#11 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 09:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JaneS View Post
You need preformed vitamin A to work with and prevent vitamin D toxicity, that is why cod liver oil is such a terrific and traditional source of these vitamins. This is one issue the Vitamin D Council is absolutely wrong on.

Vitamin A on Trial

http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnut...ina-osteo.html

I would do a combination of cod liver oil (Radiant Life or Blue Ice) and a D3 supplement from Carlson's or Solgar to get your levels up. Where do you live?
Jane, I'm glad you're here, I want to talk this out with you too. And hopefully Rachelle will check back with this thread too.

I sorta think that both the vitamin D council and the WAPF are right on this one (except for the vitamin D council saying that vitamin A is the devil--not exactly, but that seems sorta like what they're saying).

I think most people could be more D deficient than A deficient, and adding in just cod liver oil and assuming that'll be enough D could lead to trouble for them. Good CLOs have about a 10:1 ratio of A : D and it seems to me that we need more D from that from all sources. But with all the various problems getting enough D, I think many people are pretty darn low in D.

So does this make sense? Cause I think the WAPF approach that we all need a heckuva lot more fat soluble vitamins than we are getting is sound, but I think a good proportion of the population may need to address D first before A.

I'm trying to mix the two approaches, we've got some moderate (not great) sources of A from foods, and I'm supping a lot of D to get that better first, and then I'm going to add in the CLO. I was having trouble balancing the CLO with the D with my family's peculiar K issue.
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#12 of 22 Old 05-19-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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You need preformed vitamin A to work with and prevent vitamin D toxicity, that is why cod liver oil is such a terrific and traditional source of these vitamins. This is one issue the Vitamin D Council is absolutely wrong on.

Vitamin A on Trial

http://www.westonaprice.org/basicnut...ina-osteo.html

I would do a combination of cod liver oil (Radiant Life or Blue Ice) and a D3 supplement from Carlson's or Solgar to get your levels up. Where do you live?
From all the studies I have read, it is nearly impossible to get toxic on Vitamin D unless you are taking more than 10,000 IU daily for an extended period of time regardless of what other supplements you take.

Personally, I would not take Vitamin A, outright. There is an interaction between Vitamin A and D - too much retinol can actually interfere with the activity of Vitamin D. In my opinion, the best thing to do is eat plenty of beta carotene. That way your body turns what it needs into Vitamin A and discards the rest.

Me (37) ~ DH (39) ~ DS (3) ~ TTC #2 since 4/10
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#13 of 22 Old 05-20-2009, 12:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Karamom View Post
yes, my level was very low at 26. Thank you for all the good info. So, it sounds like if my dr prescribed the cholecalciferol i should take that? I need to call the pharmacy and see exactly what the Rx was for. Or would it be better to find cholcalciferol over the counter?
Personally, I'd do the Carlson drops. They also have some soft gels.

Me (37) ~ DH (39) ~ DS (3) ~ TTC #2 since 4/10
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#14 of 22 Old 05-20-2009, 12:07 AM
 
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Tanya, I actually think you're thoughts may well bring both sides together. You made it all click for me in my mind in a different thread on this topic. I'm deficient so I'm focusing on D as well for now anyway. My kids were ok (not great...low 40's though we drew in Dec.) levels so I'm using the cod liver oil still with them. But I'm also giving their D3 (almost 2000IU) apart from it. I also did a pubmed search to look at actual studies and those together with the other reading led me to the decision that A and D together can be antagonistic. That said, I really sincerely hope I'm wrong because it was my exclusive source for my kids for so long. It's one of the things I actually regret.

Karamom, whatever you do realize there are people on both sides of the A/D interaction issue. Your priority for your health is to get your vitamin D level in the optimum range. So do whatever seems best to you and make sure you follow up with another test in 6 to 8 weeks to make sure you're on the right track. If you have it corrected you keep doing what you're doing. If you don't correct it you take a different approach in some way. Keep monitoring it...what works for you works and it doesn't matter what Price vs. Mercola or the Vitamin D council or anyone else says.

If your doctor prescribed D3 the prescription is fine. Mine prescribed D2 and the pharmacist here said that's all she ever sees. We may well be backward here. But if the prescription is D3 you're ok/good with that one. Just make sure you are followed pretty quickly with another test. Make sure you take it with some fat!

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#15 of 22 Old 05-20-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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This is why I don't recommend D2:

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/84/4/694

Me (37) ~ DH (39) ~ DS (3) ~ TTC #2 since 4/10
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#16 of 22 Old 05-20-2009, 04:04 AM
 
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okay but how about the sun exposure?

It is so easy to be overlooked but sometimes people just tend
to cover too much of a body and forget that the exposure
is important for D production?

summer is here so it is easier to shade off some layers and
let do the sun do the trick...

maybe not direct expusure but in a partial shade and
without the sun screans that have tons of chemicals in them to start with and reduce production of D?..

I would suggest exactly how much exposure is sufficient to correct what problems. i once red loads of materials on the itnernet so there are resources...
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#17 of 22 Old 05-20-2009, 10:42 AM
 
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BellaClaudia, for several reasons that can be a difficult or impossible way in some circumstances.

For me--I'm pale as can be, pale even given that I'm Caucasian, and I've lived in Texas for a decade now, and my D is low and I can see symptoms in my toddler son that make me think he's darn low because he got almost nothing from me. I don't cover, I'm not employed, so I can be outside in the middle of the day. But my cholesterol is so darn low that being in the sun doesn't help a great deal. It's a cholesterol pre-cursor that sunshine turns into vitamin D in our skin, and until I fix my health and get my cholesterol higher, I'm not going to make a lot of progress on my D deficiency just by getting out in the sun.

And for people who cover for religious or cultural reasons, well, that's a big barrier.

Living in Texas is a double-edged sword, because many pale people burn so quickly in the sun that it takes real planning to get out for a short period and not burn, but still get out every day, even moreso for parents trying to plan for their pale-skinned, easily-burned kids. And if you're dark-skinned you're going to be hard-pressed to get enough sun unless you have an outdoor job where you can have at least a good portion of your skin uncovered. With my husband having darker skin and working in an office job, he's SOL (and his cholesterol is as low as mine! ). And then a good chunk of the northern part of the country is so far north that they aren't making any D all winter, even on their hands and faces that are exposed under all that cold weather gear. :

As a society we are so far from the outdoor lifestyle that people used to live that sunshine is not nearly the contributor that it used to be for so many. Depending on peoples' situations, some of which are not easily changed, it's not as straightforward as just taking a walk at noon each day.

I like this calculator for getting a reasonable estimate of how much vitamin D healthy people can make in the sun. % skin exposure makes a big difference. But this calculator doesn't go to 0 vitamin D created in the northern third of the country in the winter, which I've read studies say actually happens in real people. But other than that, it seems good.

http://nadir.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD_quartMED.html
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#18 of 22 Old 05-20-2009, 11:21 AM
 
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The OP said the prescription was for D3. I don't think doctors recommend/prescribe D2 any more. However, while D3 is the preferred form and more easily used by the body, I do know of vegans who have been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency and used D2 to raise their levels to normal fairly rapidly (D3 is from animal origin and so not vegan, D2 is from plants).
Hi,

My family is practically vegan and probably vit D deficient...going to test next week. I've been giving everyone vit D2....3-5000 iu a day but I am on the fence. I googled vegan/vit D2 and came up w/a vegan site that gave amounts needed to raise levels. It indicated that vit D2 could be used but that it said that Vit D levels dropped faster if you were using D2 vs D3. We live in PA and don't get as much sun as we should at the right time of day. We spend hrs at the playground but I'm not sure whether this covers all bases after reading the study about the Hawaiian surfers who were deficient in vit D despite spending days in the sun practically naked. I am trying to find ANY success stories of vit D deficient vegans who have raised their vit D levels to w/in the healthy range...could you send me a link or tell me how much vit D2 was required to remedy a vit D deficiency? If I can't find any info I might go w/lanolin based vit D3.

Thanks for any info.

mum to 3, 8 yo dd: 6yo ds and 4yo dd
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#19 of 22 Old 05-20-2009, 11:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
And for people who cover for religious or cultural reasons, well, that's a big barrier.

I like this calculator for getting a reasonable estimate of how much vitamin D healthy people can make in the sun. % skin exposure makes a big difference. But this calculator doesn't go to 0 vitamin D created in the northern third of the country in the winter, which I've read studies say actually happens in real people. But other than that, it seems good.

http://nadir.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD_quartMED.html
I'm quoting myself because I realized my words implied something I don't believe to be true. I didn't mean to imply that only people who actively consider themselves modest in their dress should consider the vitamin D they create as a function of the amount of skin they expose.

It took filling out that calculator to make me realize that even being fairly mainstream in my clothing choices, when I wear shorts and a T-shirt, or shorts and a tank top, only a quarter, maybe a third of my skin is exposed. And vitamin D creation isn't linear with time--we make the most in our first minutes outside, and then it decreases... so I can't just stay out 3x as long as a person wearing a bikini, the amount of skin we choose to expose, or don't choose to, really matters.

aris--I don't know anything.
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#20 of 22 Old 05-20-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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Aris referred to this but when I read a study that found that 50% of those in Hawaii with the greatest sun exposure (far more than the average) still had low vitamin D it sort of sealed it for me that for some people sun isn't going to do it. My mom is a gardener (avid) and has high cholesterol and is still deficient. She's not dark skinned. IN fact, she's had so much exposure she has had several skin cancer incidences. Yet she's low. So sun just isn't the answer for everyone. This is why I think everyone needs a vitamin D level check, preferably in the winter.

Aris, I don't have the experience you're looking for. I will try to search for that for you though.

The vitamin D council site I linked above addresses D2 I believe. http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/treatment.shtml They refer to a risk of inducing high calcium with that form so if you go that direction in high doses you might want to monitor calcium as you go. There is also research out there if you do some looking (start with pubmed perhaps).

If I were deficient and for moral reasons couldn't use a D3 form I would be going out for 15 minutes at mid-day in the sun in a swimsuit (bikini) every single day that my area produced the right kind of sun. And I'd keep monitoring to make sure it worked. I'd do this even if I were in an ok range in the summer to store up excess for the winter. I thought of something else. The vitamin D council mentions a lamp for those not wanting to take supplements. Maybe that would work for you! http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/links.shtml Hopefully you guys are ok and you don't have to make a choice that you're uncomfortable with.

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#21 of 22 Old 05-21-2009, 12:37 AM
 
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So does this make sense? Cause I think the WAPF approach that we all need a heckuva lot more fat soluble vitamins than we are getting is sound, but I think a good proportion of the population may need to address D first before A.

I'm trying to mix the two approaches, we've got some moderate (not great) sources of A from foods, and I'm supping a lot of D to get that better first, and then I'm going to add in the CLO. I was having trouble balancing the CLO with the D with my family's peculiar K issue.
Yes I see what you mean. *Especially* for those in the north who cannot make vitamin D for most of the year!! (Grrrrrrrr to the LLL who tells us to put our babes in the sun a few minutes a day for their D stores, that doesn't do us in higher latitudes any good.

But I think that just supplementing D can run people into trouble as modern diets are starving for adequate A too. I also wonder whether this is a factor in low D since they need each other?

And of course I've been thinking more about the cholesterol/liver issue you brought up recently too, need to ruminate on that one a bit more. These issues are much more complex I think.
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#22 of 22 Old 05-21-2009, 12:56 AM
 
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Personally, I would not take Vitamin A, outright. There is an interaction between Vitamin A and D - too much retinol can actually interfere with the activity of Vitamin D.
This is what Cannell states on his Vitamin D Council website and I don't think he has all the facts. Please read the above article I posted by Chris Masterjohn on the interaction between the 2 vitamins.

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In my opinion, the best thing to do is eat plenty of beta carotene. That way your body turns what it needs into Vitamin A and discards the rest.
This has been shown not to be sufficient from a scientific and historial perspective.

Certain people with gut or thyroid or enzyme problems cannot convert the beta carotene effectively into retinol. The current ratios for *normal* adults converting beta carotene into retinol is now officially up to 12:1 and some argue 20:1 according to the IOM. Children are upwards of 40:1. This means one medium carrot with 10,000 IU of beta carotene doesn't even give you your RDA for retinol. An adult would have to eat 6 and a half carrots everyday to get the RDA of 5000 IU ... and this is only *if* you are converting beta carotene normally!

Nevermind can even 6 and a half carrots give the amount of retinol vitamin A in traditional diets that humans ate to be healthy for centuries that Price studied. Every native diet he studied contained retinol from animal foods such as liver, not beta carotene from plants, at an amount 10x the amounts of retinol in modern diets. They had healthy immune systems (did not get TB or cavities) and normal physical development.

Vitamin A Saga
http://westonaprice.org/basicnutriti...aminasaga.html

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It is very unwise, therefore, to depend on plant sources for vitamin A. This vital nutrient is needed for the growth and repair of body tissues; it helps protect mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat and lungs; it prompts the secretion of gastric juices necessary for proper digestion of protein; it helps to build strong bones and teeth and rich blood; it is essential for good eyesight; it aids in the production of RNA; and contributes to the health of the immune system. Vitamin-A deficiency in pregnant mothers results in offspring with eye defects, displaced kidneys, harelip, cleft palate and abnormalities of the heart and larger blood vessels. Vitamin A stores are rapidly depleted during exercise, fever and periods of stress. Even people who can efficiently convert carotenes to vitamin A cannot quickly and adequately replenish vitamin A stores from plant foods....

In Third World communities that have come into contact with the West, vitamin-A deficiencies are widespread and contribute to high infant mortality, blindness, stunting, bone deformities and susceptibility to infection.10 These occur even in communities that have access to plentiful carotenes in vegetables and fruits.
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