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Dr. Alex Tatevian has maintained a monthly acupuncture column in the health section of the Federal Hill Gazette since 1999.      
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  Federall Hill Gazette; July 2003

Vitamin A.. The good stuff: the more the better?

   Vitamin A. The good stuff: the more the better?
    Vitamins are essential for your good health. Are you getting enough of it? Sounds familiar so far? Or may be you are getting too much? Can it hurt you? In brief, the answer is: YES, and here is an example: Broken Bones Tied to Excess Vitamin A
   A new study published in the Jan. 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine finds that Swedish men with the highest levels of vitamin A in their blood also had the highest risk of breaking their bones (seven times likelier to suffer a fracture!) compared to men with lower levels of the vitamin.
   Vitamin A, or retinol, is plentiful in fish, liver, kidney, and various dairy products. Our bodies also convert a small portion of carotenoids from vegetables and fruits into retinol. Recommended Dietary Allowances for vitamin A is up to 900 micrograms (ug) Retinol Activitiy Equivalents (RAE) or 3000 IU International Units (IUs) for adults. In America and some other countries dairy foods such as milk are fortified with extra vitamin A and D, giving us yet more of the nutrient.
   "The therapeutic window for vitamin A is narrow," writes Dr. Paul Lips. "Osteoporotic fracture due to excessive intake of vitamin A is a risk among adults, especially older persons, whereas eye disease due to vitamin A deficiency is a risk primarily among malnourished children." So what does this mean when it comes to the common preference to vitamin A-fortified milk, and, of course, our daily multivitamins?
   The more-the-good-stuff-the-better dogma is cemented in our minds. Commercials, ads and piles of vitamins and supplements for sale on every corner pressure us to take more than we need. Is it the right thing to do?
   The short answer is that vitamin A supplementation and fortification might not be such a good idea in the industrialized world.
   Alex Tatevian, DA
   We welcome all questions that you may have.
   You can ask your questions on-line at DoctorGetWell.org, e-mail them to getwell@doctor.com , or send them to:
   Alex Tatevian, DA
   Acu Well Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine
   141 Airport Road, Warwick, RI 02889
   Phone (401) 738-9355
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