Vitamin A

Learn the benefits, how much to take, drug interactions and which foods are full of vitamin A.


Vitamin A is an antioxidant that maintains the immune system; protects eyesight; keeps skin and tissues of the digestive tract and respiratory system healthy; and supports bone growth.

How Much: Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) = 3,000 international units (IU) for men and women.

Too Much: Tolerable upper limit (UL)  = 10,000 IU from retinol. Vitamin A is obtained in two ways: as vitamin A from animal sources such as fish oil, egg yolks and dairy products; and as pro-vitamin A carotenoids (including beta carotene) from fruits and vegetables, which your body then converts into vitamin A.

Three or more times the recommended amount of vitamin A from animal sources or supplements may increase hip fracture risk. Beta- carotene supplements have been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Too Little: Rare; night blindness and weakened immune system.

Foods: Liver, eggs, fortified milk; richly colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes and spinach.

Interactions: Orlistat (Alli, Xenical); mineral oil; oral contraceptives; isotretinoin (Accutane); acitretin (Soriatane); and bexarotene (Targretin).

Research Note: Studies suggest a form of vitamin A called all-trans-retinoic acid – used to treat acne and some types of cancer – may be helpful in controlling rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by suppressing inflammatory cytokines.

The Arthritis Foundation is the leading organization 
providing support and funding research to improve the 
lives of individuals with arthritis. You can help!