PAINE #PANCE Pearl – Gastrointestinal


We all know that nutritional supplementation during pregnancy is extremely important for fetal development. But…….there is one particular vitamin that can be teratogenic in excess doses.

  1. What vitamin is this?
  2. What types of foods are extremely high in this vitamin and why?


  1. The class of retinoic acids have two main forms of vitamin A:
    1. Provitamin A – primarily plant based carotenoids
      1. green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots
    2. Preformed vitamin A – primarily in animal sources
      1. livers, kidneys
  2. Up to 85% of metabolized vitamin A is stored in the liver and other tissues due to being fat soluble. As a result, animal organs (liver, kidneys, thymus) are extremely high in preformed vitamin A and can cause acute and/or chronic toxicity when ingested in large quantities.


  1. Rothman KJ, Moore LL, Singer MR, Nguyen UD, Mannino S, Milunsky A. Teratogenicity of High Vitamin A Intake N Engl J Med. 1995; 333(21):1369-1373.

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