In 1995, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine published a study that showed strong evidence that approximately one out of every 57 pregnant women in the U.S. consuming greater than 10,000 International Units (IUs) of vitamin A (retinol) per day during the first 7 weeks of their pregnancy gave birth to children afflicted with some form of birth defect. According to BDF Newlife chief executive, Sheila Brown, the risks of vitamin A to fetuses are well-known.
She said the issue now was for women to steer clear of multi-vitamin supplements too, until they have made sure they do not contain vitamin A.
"Our big message to women of child-bearing age is to look at the packet and to avoid vitamin A like the plague," she said. Vitamin A, present in liver, is a "teratogen", which damages the development of cells in foetuses, leading to the developments of conditions like spina bifida, hydrocephalus and urinary tract malformations.
Dr Adeolu Arikawe, a General Physician also advised pregnant women to avoid the intake of Vitamin A, as it could cause abnormalities in babies.He pointed out that it is important to educate pregnant women about the effect of Vitamin A, in order to have healthy babies.
“A pregnant woman should avoid the intake of Vitamin A in pregnancy as much as possible because it has been identified to be one of the causes of abnormalities in some babies,” he said.The damage is usually done in the first few days or weeks of a pregnancy.
Arikawe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that