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Vibrant health means you can live life to the fullest. Empower yourself with the steps I used to free my life of chronic disease and medications.

Reader Interactions


  1. Cannot stomach preparing or eating liver. So the capsules…any suggestions on how to give a young child who cannot swallow capsules the contents? Does the contents inside smell or taste bad? Thanks.

    • Well, I haven’t tried opening up the capsule and mixing the contents with food. I think that it may leave a taste if mixed into certain foods. Ground beef usually covers up the taste of liver, so you could empty some capsules into ground beef and then make meatballs or meatloaf.

      I also recommend adding a chicken liver (blend it first in a food processor) into ground beef to make meatballs. I add plenty of salt, garlic, and dried herbs and it almost completely covers the taste of the liver.

      The Cinnamon Tingle cod liver oil doesn’t taste *that* bad and it comes with a syringe so you just shoot it into the mouth and swallow. I know many parents who give it to their kids and their kids actually enjoy it. I would recommend it if you don’t do the liver capsules.

      • I love reading your advice and I see you take the fermented liquid cod liver oil. I have recently started the fermented cod liver oil/butter oil cinnamon tingle and wanted to know if I am going to be able to absorb and utilize the nutrients properly – my gall bladder was removed in 2007. Thank you.

        • Since you had your gallbladder removed, you don’t have any bile storage so the way I see it is that you need to eat smaller meals throughout the day. The Canadian food guide recommends 30% fat, 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates. Most North Americans are getting around 6% fat in their diets. Also considering how much of that is processed? You need at least 2% fat in your food to activate bile secretion’s. Any less and you have no calcium and proper mineral absorption along with other nutrients. So the more fat(healthy fat) the more bile secretions and the more breakdown of the food we consumed. Our brains are 66.66% fat , and our brains use 2/3 to 3/4 of the food we consume, so how much fat do we need in our diet?

          • My 85 year old mother suffers from chronic urinary tract infections. She has been treated with about every antibiotic available. She has allergies towards many of them. Nothing keeps the bacteria away for long. She takes cranberry pills, she has taken some homeopathic pills, the infection just returns. She is in the hospital now for a kidney infection as I write this. Can anyone make a suggestion.

            • I used to suffer from frequent UTI’s, and taking Uva Ursi (bearberry) capsules helped me a lot. I haven’t had a UTI for many years now. I first heard about Uva Ursi in the book “Herbal Antibiotics” by Stephen Harrod Buhner.

            • hi have you tried this truly natural antibiotic, pau-d arco.. or golden seal, this will help clean the body, detox her liver with dandelion tea, w/leafor root. and after take black seed oilw/hemp oil daily, this will give results, for sure , this is what iv done.

            • I suffered chronically until the doctor told me age thins the walls inside the bladder, so every third day I now use Ovestin cream inserted vaginally. It’s amazing, not one uti since. I had tried every natural way, but it didn’t work for me had to resort to Ovestin hormonal cream.

            • Hi Meem,

              I used to have urinary infections as a young girl until age 26 when I eliminated mainly gluten for good from my diet. Common allergies associated with gluten are dairy, eggs, yeast and soy. Remove all sugar, canned and processed foods including commercial grade stevia and agave, which are highly processed, only chicory inulin, which is unprocessed, as a sweetener. Eat simple and clean, mainly wild-caught fish and turkey, gluten-free cereals such as rice, quinoa, sorghum, oats, buckwheat, etc, vegetables, fruits in moderation, etc. Grapefruit juice is a powerful liver cleanser. Look into iodine therapy and take individual vitamins with it such goji berry extract for vitamin a (beta carotene), jarrow b right b-complex, sodium ascorbate (vitamin c) or esther-c, vegan d3, vegan e mixed tocopherols from sunflower oil or simply take sunflower oil or seeds, vegan k2, multi-mineral complex like from bluebonnet nutrition. Her body will start healing almost immediately with allergy removal and diet and basic individual supplement program. Hope this helps!

            • Do you know what causes this urine tract infection? Usually it’s candida. She should be on a special candida diet and NO antibiotics, they make candida stronger. Good luck!

      • Lauren,
        With all due respect, it seems that you imply all vegetarians/vegans are unhealthy. You suggest the use of all kinds of animal parts (liver, bile, etc) which you probably have no idea or desire to know of how it is produced. I will encourage to take a look at ANY videos out there and see how well you chew on the liver then. I have been a vegetarian for many years and vegan for 1. Only recently I started looking into vitamin A supplements, as a casual search, not prompted by health issues. What do you recommend for vegans as a vitamin A (retinol) source? I sense that you are a big fan of meat products, so please exclude those altogether.

        • Hi Lelia. I share on Empowered Sustenance my research and my own experience with nutrition, and I do not take a vegan approach. There are other resources on Empowered Sustenance that may be helpful to you, such as my natural beauty recipes and lifestyle posts, but I do not think many of my recipes or nutrition articles will resonate with you. As I express in this article, I do not have a vegan recommendation for obtaining vitamin A.

    • thanks for the advice but why do you have such a user unfriendly website. more than half the page is taken up by the menu and it is extreemly frustrating to read what you say in such a small box below.

  2. My almost three year old son has been on the cinnamon tingle FCLO/butter oil blend for a year and a half. Grandpa gives his spoonful, then chases it with a spoonful of cinnamon applesauce. My boy doesn’t even make a face.

    As for me, I take the blend in capsules. 🙂

  3. and my mother takes dessicated liver pills and has never complained. (and this is a woman who likes chicken, but refuses to touch ground chicken, because it’s not in regular form. I thought she might pass out once when I told her I ate an ostrich burger.)

  4. Thank you Lauren for posting such an informative and accessible article – I feel more empowered and aware within this journey of healing. I have not even given much thought to VitaminA until reading this article, which has helped me see how significant Vitamin A really is, and has increased my awareness around how to best absorb it. I also realized while reading it that my recent indigestion is largely because of my body not absorbing adequate amounts of vitamn D, so I listened to my body’s request and just ordered the supplement you reccommended 🙂 thank you for spreading the awareness and healing!

      • This is somewhat off topic … Yet I am wondering if you may be able to answer this question that is right now a burning question for me: how can I naturally detox Accutane? I took Accutane for a year when I was thirteen years old, and I saw dramatic results with my skin clearing up after having tried everything else in vain attempts to treat my extreme case of acne since the age of eleven. I am now 24 and I have been struggling with cystic acne, mostly on my neck, for the past few years – it is relatively mild compared to what I experienced thirteen years ago. It has suddenly occurred to me, after becoming interested in nutrition six years ago, and being on the Paleo diet for seven months now, that my hormonal imbalances, periods of depression, and difficulty with maintaining a healthy weight since my onset of puberty could all be results of taking Accutane. Well this has become quite a long post, thank you so much for reading! 🙂 An answer to this question of how to detox Accutane would likely be beneficial for many people – I did a bit of research on the Internet and did not come across any clear answers, although many did suggest paying attention to diet and exercise, as well as detoxing in general. It was striking for me to see the multitude of accounts from people who have suffered severely negative symptoms upon taking Accutane. I do feel that a diet free of grains, legumes, processed sugars and salts, processed foods, and vegetable oils – which is full of healthy fats, organ meats, fermented foods, vegetables, honey and fruit – is a powerful mode of general and overall healing in and of itself 🙂

  5. Lauren, love this article! And your writing style is so easy to read and elegant at the same time. You are a true inspiration for me and my blog. 🙂 I’ve spent most of my life believing that carrots are the greatest source of Vitamin A. How wrong was I! Since finding out about this a few months ago, I’ve been trying to get rid of my deficiencies by eating lots of eggs, liver, cod liver oil and butter.

  6. “Primitive people”. !!!??? Your words not quoting. Members of traditional cultures just love being called primitive. There’s spell checking and there’s sensitivity and courtesy checking.

    • I use that term because that is how Dr. Price referred to the traditional cultures who adhered to their traditional diet. I mean no disrespect, but I’ve read his book so many times that I start speaking his “language” when I discuss his own findings. I will update the post and explain this wording choice.

  7. Hi Lauren. I have hashimotos so I guess vitamin A should be important to me! But here’s the thing: I am intolerant to eggs and dairy (even butter), and I cannot stand the taste of lard, tallow, or liver. My local grassfed farmer actually sells the Blue Ice brand of fermented Cod Liver Oil, but I am afraid I won’t be able to take it because of the taste and I am afraid to spend that much money on it if I don’t like it (poor post college student trying to pay off my loan!). So here’s my question. My local grassfed farmers also sell the fermented cod liver oil in capsules. Is that as effective or is there a downside to taking it in capsules? Thanks for your help!

    • I’m not Lauren, but my family takes the capsules and have had good results. I originally started for the sake of one of my kids’ teeth. That child had the mildest case (practically non-existent) of flu of any of the whole family last year, so I started them all on it. So far so good for this winter!! 🙂

    • The company that sells the fermented cod liver oil also has a coconut oil supplement that includes the CLO and the butter oil but dilute, with natural flavor and stevia added. You might try that.

  8. Hi Lauren,

    First time writing so I just wanted to thank you for always sharing such wonderful and well informed information here! My question is I take the fermented cod liver oil regularly, haven’t really gotten into eating grass fed liver. Do you think it’s important to incorporate both (just in this instance regarding vitamin A), or does the cod liver oil provide what’s needed? Thanks!

  9. I’d just like to say for everyone who doesn’t like the taste of liver that the more you eat it, the easier it will get. I have been chronically sick for the past 5 and a half years. This past summer I started buying chicken liver. I did not like it at all, but eating it definitely helped my energy and strength. So I was willing to forgo bad taste to feeling well. Now, when I eat liver, I am no longer grossed out by the taste. The taste is no longer strong to me anymore. My palette has gotten used to it. …I know Dr. Oz has said in the past to eat something 7 times in order to get used to the taste. I don’t know how many times it took for me to get to the way I am now, but like I said, chicken liver doesn’t bother me anymore, and I am happy to eat it.

  10. My children and I are unable to digest cod liver oil. We can live with the usual burping and bad taste, but after a few days we start to feel nauseated and I experience reflux. I recently switched us to a vegan DHA/EPA supplement (algae oil) and we tolerate that better. But now, after a few months on it, I find it is also causing me indigestion and reflux. So I’m wondering if the fermented CLO is tolerable to people who otherwise can’t digest CLO? I know it’s “designed” to be healthier and more absorbable, but can sensitive folks like me actually digest it? It’s so expensive, and I’ve spent SO much money trying various forms of fish and CLO, I am hesitant to buy it without some endorsement from others in a similar situation. Thank you!

    • Hi Eleanor, I recommend sticking to the broccoli, asparagus, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, yellow squash, bell peppers, chili peppers, apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruits, watermelons, mangoes, papaya, oranges and peaches. They are all a lot cheaper, filling, and tastier, and contain lots of other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more. Best to stick with the fresh Organic kind if you can as they contain more nutrients and less pesticides. Listen to your body; if your body doesn’t like something don’t force it. I am mostly vegan (besides honey and the occasional wild fish) and I feel like I get too much vitamin A lol. I never get zits, my hair is always soft, shiny, and healthy, my nails never break unless I use a good clipper, and my eyesight is good even though I tend to stay up too late and stare at my computer screen too much lol. I think the key to making sure you get enough vitamin A in a vegan diet or mostly vegan diet at least is to simply either make sure to get enough sun and/or eat mushrooms regularly to make sure you get enough vitamin D, and make sure that you don’t skip on the fat. Use oils and vegan butters high in omega-3 and eat some nuts and seeds which contain a good amount of fat. Its also important to make sure you are getting enough zinc and vitamin E which can help you absorb vitamin A. I also do not react well to dairy or eggs. they both make me feel sick by the next day unless I only had a little and it was really well cooked. I’ve had liver before (from a wild deer) and I thought it wasn’t bad, but I definitely like the taste of beans more (especially kidney pinto, and chickapea). Also if I prepare meat (not as much if I’m not the one preparing it and just eat it after it’s well cooked) like chicken, pork-chops or steaks I tend to feel very sick that night or next morning regardless of how much I wash my hands or use gloves etc.

  11. I just found your blog and am intrigued. I have some health challenges and have given up on traditional medicine.
    My question is about dairy. I am feeding a family of 6. I can’t afford grassfed organic dairy products. Can i get any of the benefits you speak of by using regular dairy products from the grocery store?

    • The vitamin A content is significantly lower (and may even be negligible) in conventional dairy products. Are you able to get pastured eggs? I’m able to buy them directly from a farmer for a good price. Pastured egg yolks are a budget-friendly option for vitamin A. Also, if possible, you may consider just investing in one type of grassfed dairy product, such as grassfed butter.

    • I wouldn’t consume regular milk or eggs. The nutrients in them is little and not worth the antibiotics, chemicals, possible salmonella which is very common in eggs and poultry, the cholesterol, the way it can make your body very acidic which promotes cancer growth and other major health problems, and more. In fact I wouldn’t really recommend having grass-fed milk or eggs as often this grass is still gmo and sprayed with pesticides or the cow’s or chicken’s manure which can’t be healthy for the animal, and the animals are still often given antibiotics or other chemical supplements/steroids. I recommend only organic milk and eggs of which you know the farm/farmer personally/directly and can see that the animals are well kept and live a good life. It also might be cheaper buying directly from the farmer. Otherwise I would stay away from dairy and eggs. and stick to the asparagus, broccoli, chili peppers, carrots, spinach, pumpkin, yellow squash, sweet potatoes, apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruits, watermelons, mangoes, papaya, oranges and peaches for your vitamin A. Fish is also good for vitamin A on occasion but make sure its wild fish and not farm raised and also make sure there is no chance of it containing mercury especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding.

      • What? The cholesterol? It makes you acidic? We produce 2000 mg of cholesterol per day its essential to life. Cholesterol found in animal products is minimal in comparison, and has no effect on serum cholesterol. Hence the story of the old man eating 25 eggs per day with normal cholesterol ( search dr wallach ). Secondly, it makes us acidic? Anything we eats turns alkaline upon entering the small intestine due to bicarbonates neutralizing incoming acids. Please don’t recycle these vegan pseudoscience theories.

        People like yourself love to dispute animal products for some reason I do not know. Beta carotene requires bile which requires fat to convert it. This means you must put some form of fat on your food. If you think about it what is an option? Butter. There’s not many other options as far as that goes. There’s no escaping animal products, and no you can’t say coconut oil because it doesn’t require bile from the MCFA’s. Not counting we need CLA ( only found in animal products ) , many people have trouble converting the DHA, and EPA so must get true sources. COQ10 is only found in animal products, true ratios of omega 3 to 6, true vitamin A, true 12 ( not the same as plant, different bio availability ), and also the only source of vitamin D during the winter.

        Sorry, but I’m sick of people like you reading something online and misinforming others. Just stop lady.

        Btw, awesome article! I had vitamin A deficiency myself, and I tried sweet potatoes, and carrots like mad. Needless to say it didn’t work. I had to eat grass fed beef liver although it tasted like the southbound end of a northbound donkey.

      • This article makes it very clear
        i. that the nutrient supplied by the plant foods you reference are NOT vitamin A. They are vitamin A precursors that have to be changed by the body into true vitamin A.
        ii. it takes large amounts of plant foods to provide the carotenoids that could potentially equal the ready-made bioavailable vitamin A
        iii. Many people can’t efficiently convert caroteinoids into real vitamin A.

        As to your other arguments:

        Milk and eggs are not low in nutrients. They provide high-quality bioavailable protein and fat, minerals and vitamins. Milk also provides carbohydrate in the form of lactose, which is a low glycaemic index sugar that doesn’t cause a huge insulin spike.

        Regarding the statement that dairy produce and eggs make the body acidic and cause cancer, this puts the trailer in front of the truck. The body becomes acidic AFTER a cancer becomes established. The cancer highjacks the body’s metabolism, as well as spinning off large amounts of metabolic wastes that overload the body’s excretory systems. Cancer cells are cultured in the laboratory on substrates at the same pH as the body: 7.4. So, it’s first the cancer, then the acidic state.

        In general, your body is very good at maintaining its pH within a very narrow range, regardless of what you eat.

  12. Yeah, they can talk about birth defects from too much vitamin A. My daughter got birth defects from not enough vitamin A. I know which side I’d prefer to err upon.

    I’m not even sure it’s down to synthetic versus natural. I’m curious whether these studies took into account the total nutrient intake–were these mothers taking A in isolation or did they balance it with other fat-solubles? And that’s if the data are trustworthy to begin with. If all they did was hand the mothers a questionnaire and say “tell me everything you ate during your pregnancy” then we can safely dismiss the study.

  13. Hi Lauren!

    I quite enjoy reading your blog, and I just wanted to start with saying congratulations on how far you’ve come in improving your health. I have a question for you though. I am a vegan, for ethical reasons. I just feel it is wrong to eat another living creature. I am wondering, do you have any recommendations on how to make sure I am getting the proper nutrients I need? Please don’t recommend I eat animal products either, it’s not something I am willing to do. Thank you!

      • I know it’s been a while since you published this article. However, I am in need of some help. First, I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian. I do no handle cow milk well, but have done well with byproducts. When I consume meat of any kind, I get ill. Also, I was diagnosed with lyme disease and went through 3.5 years of antibiotics and homeopathic treatments. I have been off for a year now and seem to be stable, but am still brain foggy. I am also concerned that I am deficient in the B vitamins. To boot, my whole family is in an epidemic. (thyroid, osteoporosis, depression, cognitive issues, inflammatory issues). Basically, they are all on disability. I am the only one who is “well” enough…LOL. The rest of my family are meat-eating. Do you have any suggestions on the lowest cost/highest benefits for o/l vegetarian and non-vegetarian folks in my family. We could use the help.

  14. Hey I really enjoy your blog! You have some great stuff here thanks!

    I don’t understand if people are against polyunsaturated oils why is fermented cod liver oil ok?

    Polyunsaturated oils are VERY unstable, oxidizing quickly when exposed to oxygen, light and heat—even just sitting in a bottle, but also when they go into our bodies—and turning rancid. (including omegas)

    Furthermore, Cod, like Shark, are long-lived fish. As they go about living for years and years, and during that time, they accumulate environmental toxins.
    And the toxins are most concentrated in the livers. So when you drink Cod liver oil, you should expect environmental toxins! That just makes sense!

    Sadly, atlantic Cod is an over-fished and threatened species.

    Why not just eat more fish and liver and gain similar yet better benefits since it’s a food source?

    • Also Fermented foods require a glucose source to create (metabolize) a by-product e.g. lactic acid that prevents the food from decomposing. The result is a pleasant sour taste that one would find with sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt, etc. Cod liver oil has no glucose and cod livers have very little glucose (mostly protein, fat, water and some minerals). The livers and the oil simply go from fresh to rancid in a short period of time. If left to continue decomposing the oil will become putrid leaving a foul smell and taste. Thanks for any input

  15. Hi Lauren,

    Thank you for informative article. For many weeks and months been researching the web for clear info about true levels of Vit A toxicity.

    I used to eat liver and eggs many times per week. My health was great. Then as part of comprehensive blood tests, I did vitamin A (retinol) level test, also vitamin D. I am so confused by the results, as they showed me to be bordering toxicity in A, and very deficient in D.

    I stopped all A intake from liver eggs etc. Started taking high dose vitamin D (50,000 iu per week). Within 2 months, started to suffer from extreme dry hair (dry brittle, sheep like). Eye sight less acuity. My face inflated and eyes protruding. May be Hypothyroid!

    Not to take long of your precious time. My main query si with regard to what constitute tru vitamin A / retinol toxicity in humans.

    The numbers I see on the web are most confusing. My lab test result for serum retinol was 86 mcg/dL.

    Some well known, even governmental website put the range as 50-200 mcg/dL

    Other US gov site out it as 30-50 mcg !!

    Merck manual and Medscape place the number between 20-100 mcg/dl only.

    Still others 45-120 mcg !

    Please see links:

    Greatly appreciate some help with thse conflicting numbers.

    Thank you.

  16. I’m vegan and I found this a bit offensive. I’ll stick with my lifestyle though lot of people don’t agree animals should have most of human rights. I banished meat, dairy from my diet because I refuse to kill an animal because of my appetites.

    As I’ve been checking my diet, I registered almost everything I ate and my Vitamin A RDA percentage would pass 500%. Like you said, it takes much to transform that into proper vitamin A, but having all those 500%, I don’t think I will need to worry myself if I’m having enough ‘true’ Vitamin A. And yes, meat and dairy can be a easy source of all you mentioned and even protein, aminoacids, but you forget that if you see the benefits of eating meat, there isn’t much, it fills your body with toxins including the amount of time your body gets rid of it – too much time.

    Killing animals is not worth my time, even If i’m not doing it directly but simply by buying meat or whatever. Please go to YouTube and see Earthlings, Cowspiracy and Forks Over Knives – especially Forks Over Knives if you want more proof about why we shouldn’t eat any dairy or meat for health reasons.. Cowspiracy – how eating meat is affecting our planet, world warming, poverty, etc. Earthlings – the cruelty behind the Tv publicity showing wrongly how animals, cows, chickens are treated. After seeing all that, if you still remain with your opinion, fine, at least try to understand and write having in count that us, vegans, do care about species. Thank you.

    • I agree with you too. I found this article extremely uninformed and offensive too. It is one thing to eat what you want, it is another thing to put down the lifestyle choices of others and say that they are unhealthy because of it. She even refuses to acknowledge the other side of the issue. I am from India and everybody in my family is a vegetarian or vegan and we are doing just fine, thank you.

  17. Hi Lauren! Long time follower of your work! It’s just come to my attention that I may be consuming too much vitamin A. My hair has been breaking off and it’s extremely frustrating cause I don’t dye it or use any conventional products and I eat very clean with plenty of healthy fats! Now I’m not sure what to remove to decrease vitamin A while keeping and if not upping iron. I’ve been doing 1/2 tsp. fermented cod liver oil and taking liver pills I made from venison. Should I not be doing that anymore? I also eat kale, spinach, grass-fed butter, eggs, sweet potato, squash etc. I’m so confused and would LOVE your input! Thanks! 🙂

  18. Is it okay to take 50000 iu of vitamin a even if you have elevated liver enzymes? Or should i just wait till my liver enzymes goes down then i could take that amount of vitamin a. I’ve spoken to someone from a health food store and they told me that in order to heal the gut, you have to take about 50000 iu of vitamin a plus 10000 iu of vit d and iodine a day for one week then basically, you can taper it down every week.

  19. This may sound odd, but I came here seeking information for my bird. I adopted an older parrot this year with a history of health problems. She’s been doing very well, but has the slightest bit of flakiness on the scales on her toes, which can be associated with Vitamin A deficiency. She won’t eat any leafy greens or orange/yellow vegetables (with the exception of carrots.) As per your suggestion, I’ve been giving her a little bit of egg a few times a week (which is actually suggested by avian authorities as a way to provide some of the nutrition missing in the suggested diet of veggies, fruit, pellets, and sprouted seeds). I’m excited to see the results. Thanks again for the info!

  20. Thank you for posting this. I love vitamin A and its precursor.
    My issue is about you discouraging plant based foods as a source of Vitamin A or to be specific its precursor. My thinking and experience is that if one has a functional digestive tract and if one does not have worms in the stomach or intestines, then Vitamin A or beta-carotene will be absorbed efficiently (with fat as you stated). Few cases do we find someone with a malfunctioning intestinal tract or with worms. Therefore I suggest that we still can get beta-carotene absorbed as just a few people have issues with the intestinal tract.

    Animal foods have fat and vitamin A But we all know that besides the vitamin A, animal foods have high concentrations of saturated fat that is far beyond that recommended in the diet. Animal foods also do not have any soluble or insoluble fiber. Your article is discouraging people to use plant foods as a source of vitamin A but those same foods provide other nutrients beside beta-carotene. Individuals may think that those foods are totally bad which is not the case.

    • It’s not nearly as simple as you make out! People can be unable to convert betacarotenes into retinol for many reasons, including genetic inheritance. Here’s what World’s Healthiest Foods has to say:

      “We use this phrase—”under certain conditions”—to refer to the fact that the bodies of many individuals may not be well equipped to convert carotenoid forms of vitamin A into retinoid forms. Many different factors can contribute to problems with this conversion, including: a person’s inherited genetic tendencies, digestive problems, bacterial imbalances in the digestive tract, excessive use of alcohol, excessive exposure to toxic chemicals, imbalanced intake of vitamin A and vitamin D as a result of high-dose supplementation, and the use of certain over-the-counter and/or prescription medications. So there is a need for caution here. If you are a person who avoids animal foods and you are trying to obtain more retinoid forms of vitamin A by consuming plant foods that are high in carotenoids, you might get a very large amount of carotenoids yet still be unable to convert these carotenoid forms of vitamin A into the retinoid form that is also required by the body for proper physiological functioning.”

      I was startled to discover that I am one of the people who simply don’t convert carotenoids well, because of my genetics. My skin was yellow enough that I looked as if I had mild jaundice, because the carotenoids from the huge amounts of leafy greens, pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes, that I was eating, were simply depositing in the thin layer of subcutaneous fat. I was getting plenty of fat, I did not have worms, and my digestive tract was functional. Once I started eating dairy products and eggs again, and cut back to reasonable amounts of veggies, my skin returned to a normal colour, my immune system started ticking over, and my hair became soft and shiny again. What with my hypoglycaemia, hypersensitivity to nuts and legumes, and inability to digest mushrooms, I crashed and burned severely on a vegan diet that was, on paper, superb. I come from people (Northern Dutch, Irish, and Afrikaner) for whom dairy products, eggs, and red meat, were dietary staples, and who didn’t get a lot of grains or greens over the last 500 years.

  21. This isn’t quite accurate. Beta carotene, the orange pigment found in many plants including carrots, is converted to vitamin A in our bodies. Plus, it is stored as beta carotene and then converted to vitamin A when no longer in excess.

  22. It is very possibly to get overloaded on vitamin A with liver. The ways we get vitamin A toxicity is because it is fat soluble and will build up in our fat rather than being flushed out in our urine. Polar Bear livers (not synthetic obviously) are so high in vitamin A that a very small amount can cause toxicity. It is impossible to get toxicity from plant sources, and they have started changing how they measure it, so it is more accurate

    • I have heard that one bite of Polar Bear liver has such a high concentration of vitamin A that it may cause immediate toxicity and potential death, from one bite. It appears to make sense considering a Polar Bears diet. It does make me wonder how it is that Polar Bears themselves don’t have vitamin A toxicity.

  23. Giving people advice to take retinol from animal sources is, simply said, complete bollocks. That is propaganda from meat industry. That has nothing to do with proper nutrition. Putting miligrams or micrograms next to vitamins is clear sign of quackery and charlatanism. Every human being is different, and so is the need for vitamins. You cannot make up a number and apply it for millions. In fact, you can, but only if the only goal is to create herd mentality.

  24. I feel like the entire purpose of this blog is to refute vegetarianism and veganism and to exaggerate the importance of eating animal products, like the author is obsessed with killing animals. “You must take life to have life.” Yeah okay, nutcase.

  25. PS, on an informative note, I used to eat way too much vitamin A and it made my hair fall out. Once I stopped, so did the hair loss. I now get my vitamin A primarily from carotenoids and my body converts them just fine. My last GP checkup and blood tests confirm it.

  26. If I take 50,000 iu a day, is that safe? I’ve taken 30,000 iu a day with no adverse affects. I have keratosis pillars and increasing vitamin A and D and K2 are the main things that help, but as soon as I stop taking Vitamin A, my problems come back shortly after. Is it possible, I’m not storing it, or that I am really that deficient, that taking it for a month isn’t enough?

  27. Hi Lauren,

    Great Article. I was wondering if you could elaborate just a bit more on the Vitamin A – Beta Carotene v’s Retinol. I understand the fact that Beta Carotene derives from Plants versus Retinol that derives from an Animal Source.

    However, where I am a bit confused is and correct me if I am wrong but it sounds like what you are saying is that it is basically impossible for the Human Body to derive any benefit from a Vitamin A – Beta Carotene source versus Retinol in a Multi-Vitamin?

    I also understand the fact that via a Liver Supplement and or Cod Liver Oil you can get the needed Vitamin A in your body. However, do you mind just shedding alittle more light on this Subject as I am in process of choosing the correct Multi-Vitamin and will need the Vitamin A to be digested properly in my Body.


    I was wondering if there where other “Fat Soluble” Vitamins that also worked in the same manner as Vitamin A does. Please advise when you can….

    Can you please expand on the phrase below from your Article.

    ” The vitamin A from animal sources is retinoids, also called retinol, while plant source vitamin A is carotenoids, such as beta carotene. Animal sources of retinol is bio-available, which means the body can utilize it. The vitamin A from plant sources, in contrast, must first be converted to retinol to be useful in the body. ”

    Thank You,

  28. I took the fermented cod liver oil for about 2 1/2 months. On the good side, my fingernails, which have been brittle and split my whole life, became strong and they grew fast! But I had a scare. I was woken in the middle of the night with squirming feelings, not spasms exactly, in my liver. This went on for 10 days, when I quit the FCLO. After a few weeks the problem stopped.

    I do not want to take FCLO again. But I want to see my nails improve. Any suggestions?

    Also any thoughts on the liver squirm?

  29. I am so glad I found your article!! I read that orange veggies were the way to go for vitamin a, but that seemed too “easy”. I felt like there was something more to the animal forms, and this was the information I needed. Im pretty sure that my daughters and I are vitamin a deficient. One of them is severely deficient or at least has the signs for it. I’m giving her CLO and I’m taking the liver pills. Just started. 🙂 I’m looking forward to results for her keritosis Polaris and depression symptoms. Thank you for this article.

    • That’s great as long as your body is able to convert the betacarotenes into retinol. If you don’t have the right genetics, or you have leaky gut, or hypothyroidism, or caeliac disease, you can eat that 2kg of high betacarotene foods daily and get no benefit from it. Note, plant foods do NOT contain vitamin A. They contain vitamin A precursors, which have to be changed into vitamin A in the body before they can support your metabolic functions. If your tank is full of petrol but your fuel pump doesn’t work – your car isn’t going anywhere.

  30. You want to eat death/ dead things and then bring up vitamins, minerals and nutrients? Inside your electrical body? Explain to me how your body/cells will respond to dead food? Rather than electrical/ alkaline foods?


    The body makes Retinol on its own. What it DOES NOT MAKE is Vitamin A. That is why its called a “vitamin”. When you give your body Retinol you could actually be telling it NOT TO MAKE ITS OWN. Yes, read this correctly.

  32. Loved the article. I always made face packs and scrubs at home using Ayurveda. But I am now getting into trying all kinds of organic cosmetics at home. I was trying to come up with my very own anti ageing cream and read importance of Vit. A, but all of them now seem incomplete reading yours. Very enlightening.


  33. I always appreciate learning new beliefs on nutrition. I am open to new ideas about nutrition that have facts to back them up.

    With that said, I have been a vegetarian for over three decades. I am lacto ovo. I do eat a lot of organic carrots. I do not drink much milk, (I do whey protein powder) I do not much eat butter, and I eat some egg. Much of my vitamin A is from plant source or my multi vitamin pill. From what I have learned about Vitamin A deficiency I do not have those symptoms.

  34. You list fermented cod liver oil but your link takes you to a page that sells unfermented cod liver oil. Just thought I’d mention that. I’m not clear which one is better can you elaborate?

  35. Love this article! I have only really only starting learning about vitamin a and how to obtain it. I’d love to add more into my diet from whole foods as I’m scared that supplementation would cause to toxicity. Have you eaten more than the RDA (~10000 IU) for a prolonged duration? How have you felt? Did you notice any differences?

    Thanks. 😊

  36. hi ma hope u fine.

    mam i m 30 year old male from pakistan, having acne problem from last 10 years , severe in summer and light in winter ,
    have used isotritinion 2 times for six months but after stoping treatment it appears again and also acutane leav much more sider effects,
    now plz suggest me how can i cure my acne problem?

    mam i have also inflamation in GIT , some one told me that it is the basic cause , is this or not related to acne.

    mam i m also feeling joint and muscle pain and mood disorders

    kibndly reply me

  37. Has anyone had issues eating foods extremely high in beta carotene, like carrots or sweet potatoes, often? I’m not entirely sure what has been causing me symptoms this past week, but I’m seriously starting to wonder if I have somehow been OD’ing on beta carotene. I had carrots quite a bit last week. I started on a Vitamin D supplement over the weekend and felt better. I’ve also felt better the last day or so just sticking to low-A vegetables. Doing this kept me from waking up hungry in the night trying to find a way to put some D in the tank, like I did a few times last week. I wonder if the harm is coming from consuming foods containing almost 100% beta carotene and no other carotenoids. Would I do better eating foods like dark leafy greens that contain beta carotene along with high amounts of other carotenoids? I’m wondering if the beta carotene in the absence of other carotenoids is the problem. It seems like isolated beta carotene supplements come with the most health risks, and carrots and sweet potatoes come pretty close to that. It’s really hard to find information because it seems many sites say that beta carotene from food sources is safe and that toxicity is impossible. I definitely agree that animal foods are essential for proper health and nutrition. I was never vegetarian or vegan, but I emphasized plant foods over animal foods. I ended up with copper toxicity and had to take a lot of supplements to keep up my iron (and was failing). By consuming more animal foods, I’ve been able to cut down on my supplement regimen significantly and may have even reversed my hypothyroidism. I think plant-based foods have been out to kill me. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Perhaps I should have mentioned that yesterday, day two of Vitamin D supplementation, I had an entree for lunch that had 90% vitamin A. I’m guessing it came primarily from the carrots. I felt awful all afternoon. I had a dinner much lighter on the vitamin A that night and felt better. I’ve felt better sticking to low-A vegetables today as well. Perhaps, once I feel I’ve completely recovered, I might test out spinach.

      • I think I figured out the issue. The Saturday before Valentine’s Day was that time of the month for me, and my iron felt low. I ate some pork liver to get it back up. At the time, I was not taking any supplemental vitamin D, so I received a huge hit of vitamin A without D to balance it. I didn’t notice issues except for a few acne breakouts right away, but as the week progressed, I began to notice issues with low vitamin D. I began a supplement, but I was still having problems because of excess vitamin A, I think. I believe it took the D supplement plus low vitamin A eating to get me back on track. This morning, my body was asking for nourishment (hungry along with a fatigued feeling), so on a hunch, I got up and drank a V8. I began feeling a lot better. I’m hoping things are back on track now with my regular diet along with the D supplement.

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Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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