Vitamin A Deficiency Treatment & Management

Updated: Dec 21, 2021
  • Author: George Ansstas, MD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Treatment

Medical Care

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%. [27]

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Consultations

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

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Diet

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. [28] Vitamin A–rich foods include the following [28, 29] :

  • 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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