Can too much preformed vitamin A increase my risk for osteoporosis?

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
Several observational studies show that too much preformed vitamin A (contained in animal-based foods, including liver, milk, and eggs) in the diet may raise the risk of osteoporosis, a condition marked by porous, weak bones and a higher likelihood of fractures. The risk appears when people consume more than double the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for preformed vitamin A (ranging from 300 units per day in children to 700 units/day in adults) and may be limited to those who don't get enough vitamin D. An analysis from the Women's Health Initiative of more than 75,000 women found a modestly increased risk of hip fracture only among women with high vitamin A and low vitamin D intakes, as described in a paper in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. There is no evidence of a link between beta carotene and osteoporosis risk.

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