Vitamin A Deficiency Treatment & Management

Updated: Oct 12, 2016
  • Author: George Ansstas, MD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Treatment

Medical Care

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  • In the United States, VAD can easily be prevented through the consumption of foods recommended in the Diet subsection.

  • Treatment for subclinical VAD includes the consumption of vitamin A–rich foods, such as liver, beef, chicken, eggs, fortified milk, carrots, mangoes, sweet potatoes, and leafy green vegetables.

  • For VAD syndromes, treatment includes daily oral supplements, as follows:

    • Children aged 3 years or younger - 600 mcg (2000 IU)

    • Children aged 4-8 years - 900 mcg (3000 IU)

    • Children aged 9-13 years - 1700 mcg (5665 IU)

    • Children aged 14-18 years - 2800 mcg (9335 IU)

    • All adults - 3000 mcg (10,000 IU)

  • Therapeutic doses for severe disease include 60,000 mcg (200,000 IU), which has been shown to reduce child mortality rates by 35-70%.

  • A meta-analysis of 43 randomized controlled trials in low- to mid-income countries showed that vitamin A supplementation for children aged 6 months to 5 years reduced all-cause mortality by 24% and diarrhea-associated mortality by 28%. [26]

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Consultations

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  • Consult endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists, nutritionists, infectious disease specialists, and dermatologists, as indicated.

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Diet

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  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, from the US departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, recommend consumption of a variety of foods for a comprehensive nutrient intake. [27] Vitamin A – rich foods include the following [27, 28] :

    • Liver

    • Beef

    • Chicken

    • Eggs

    • Whole milk

    • Fortified milk

    • Carrots

    • Mangoes

    • Orange fruits

    • Sweet potatoes

    • Spinach, kale, and other green vegetables

  • Eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day is recommended in order to provide a comprehensive distribution of carotenoids.

  • A variety of foods, such as breakfast cereals, pastries, breads, crackers, and cereal grain bars, are often fortified with 10-15% of the RDA of vitamin A.

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