Fat Soluble Vitamin Deficiencies
Animal Studies of Fat Soluble Vitamin Deficiencies
Mineral rich soil allows the plants to take up the minerals, and animals utilize the minerals from the plants. Eating suitable plants or meats from animal sources fed plants grown on nutrient rich soils is the best way to get vitamins and minerals.
Dr Price pointed out that in the 1930s and 40s, farm soils were losing nutrients faster than they were being replenished. Renewable agriculture systems are promoted by groups such as the Weston A. Price Foundation. Renewable agriculture practices are ignored by the confinement animal industry which provides most of our milk, meat, and eggs.
Dr. Price reported a number of animal studies in which deficiencies of fat soluble vitamins resulted in various physiological problems. Absence or deficiency of vitamin A during fetal development gave rise to offspring which were blind, some even missing eyes.
In the years 1935 and 1936 a 2 year drought resulted in little or no green grass for cattle to eat. Cattle were suffering horribly. Some of the cattle had eye infections. Calves born during this period had weak eyes, and these were the ones to succumb first during these bleak conditions.
Would milk from these vitamin A deficient cows be able to nourish calves or humans?
Four of the cows were fed hay with no green color, plus a good grain mixture, over a 2 year period. These feeds resulted in low fat soluble vitamins in the cows rations. Of 6 calves born to these 4 cows, 2 were born dead, one was unable to stand and died shortly after birth, and 3 were both weak and blind.
Three normal calves fed milk from these vitamin A deficient cows died at 57, 62, and seventy one days. This report verified that deficiencies in the mothers led to milk that was unable to nourish calves, and probably not humans either.
Vitamin A deficiency, and a high cereal intake in young dogs, resulted in degeneration of the central and peripheral nerves that supplied hearing and balance. All degrees of degeneration were observed from slight degeneration to complete disappearance of the nerves supplying the hearing and balance sensations. The deficiency also resulted in degenerative changes in nerves to the eyes.
Vitamin E deficiencies in pregnant rats resulted in prolongation of the gestation period. Long and difficult labor sometimes resulted in death of newborn and the mother.
In primitive races on their local diets ease of birth was the norm. A physician who worked among the Eskimos for 36 years stated he had never been able to arrive in time for a birth among those on their local foods.
Those women, whose parents had modernized with the white mans sugary foods before their daughters conception, had long and difficult labor requiring hospitalization.
A number of animal studies indicated that both males and females need to have adequate nutrition, especially vitamin A, in order to have normal fertilization and births without deformities.
This was confirmed by studies of male sperm from animals whose diets contained no deficiency, partial deficiency, and complete deficiency of the fat soluble vitamins.
The animals with no vitamin deficiency produced the most active sperm and normal offspring. Partial vitamin deficiencies produced offspring with deformities. Complete deficiency of the studied vitamins, produced no offspring.
Pigs did not reproduce when fed barley and salt but did reproduce when cod liver oil was added to the diet.
In a study of 4 litters of dogs born to 4 different mothers, all sired by one male, there were similar deformities such as cleft palate and severe spinal deformity found in each litter. The conclusions were that the deformities came from the paternal side of the mating.
Studies in rats with partial supply of vitamin E needs during gestation resulted in prolongation of gestation as much as 10 days beyond the normal fetal growth.
Litters of partially E deficient rats during gestation were thin and undersized and developed slowly in spite of adequate lactation. Some young rats became fat and developed leg weakness. Wrist and foot spasms sometimes developed about 18 days after birth.
Please remember that confinement animal practices, especially dairy and chickens, which supply the overwhelming amount of milk and eggs today result in products that are much lower in vitamin A than necessary for optimum health.
Hypervitaminosis A refers to high storage levels in the body that can lead to toxic symptoms. Toxicity can result in dry, itchy skin, headache, fatigue, hair loss, loss of appetite, vomiting, and liver damage. Authors of an article on vitamin A from the Weston A. Price Foundation noted that these are also the symptoms of a deficiency of the nutrient.
The Health Risk of Too Many Carotenoids
According to the NIH, when toxic symptoms arise suddenly, which can happen after consuming very large amounts of fat soluble nutrients over a short period of time, signs of toxicity include dizziness, blurred vision, and muscular incoordination.
Most cases of toxicity result from an excess intake of supplements which include synthetic vitamins and carotenoids. A generally recognized safe upper limit of intake for vitamin A from diet and supplements is 8,000 to 10,000 IU per day.
Provitamin A carotenoids such as beta-carotene are generally considered safe because they are not traditionally associated with specific adverse health effects. The conversion of provitamin A carotenoids from plant foods to vitamin A slows down when adequate stores of these nutrients are achieved, so levels are naturally limited. A high intake of provitamin A carotenoids (from food sources) can turn your skin yellow, but this is not considered dangerous to health.
As mentioned above, the evidence on benefits and adverse effects of taking beta-carotene supplements is contradictory, and the potential health risks are not well understood.
A lung cancer trial suggested a greater incidence of lung cancer and total mortality in smokers who supplemented their diet with 20 mg of beta-carotene per day.
The Physicians' Health Study compared the effects of taking 50 mg of beta-carotene every other day to a placebo (sugar pill) in 22,000 male physicians, and found no adverse health effects.
Was there any effect of smoking in this data?
A study in China tested the ability of four different nutrient combinations to inhibit the development of esophageal and gastric cancers in 30,000 men and women. This study suggested a beneficial role for beta-carotene: after 5 years the participants who took a combination of beta-carotene, selenium and vitamin E had a 13% reduction in cancer deaths.
Did the addition of selenium and vitamin E modify any effect of beta-carotene in this study?
At this time, taking beta-carotene supplements is not recommended by the NIH.
Food Sources of Vitamin A
The following lists include some of the foods which are good dietary sources of vitamin A. The best sources of vitamin A are liver, eggs, butter, and raw whole milk. Vitamin A is not found in plant sources.
The sources of liver, eggs, butter and milk today are from confinement animal operations. The milk is pasteurized and homogenized which destroys all of the good properties of milk except some minerals.
Beef animals are not allowed to eat green grass which is the best source of vitamin A for the animals. Chickens are not allowed to forage for insects and any green plants they may eat so their sources of vitamin A are limited.
Any sources said to be fortified, such as fortified milk, are synthetic sources of retinol, or manufactured carotenes. Food manufacturers fortify a wide range of products with carotenes which are said to be converted to vitamin A.
The Weston A Price Foundation report that carotene is converted to vitamin A only under special conditions, part of which requires adequate fat to cause release of bile from the liver and gall bladder. The rate of conversion was 4 parts carotene:1 part of vitamin A, or even 6:1 or less.
While polyunsaturated oils can cause the release of bile as animal fats do, polyunsaturated oils can cause the destruction of carotenes unless antioxidants are present. There are other deleterious side effects from polyunsaturated oils as well.
Carotenes found in foods contain a range of carotenes. Carotene used in fortified foods contains only beta carotene, which apparently is the main carotene that can be converted to vitamin A. This includes breakfast cereals, pastries, breads, crackers, cereal grain bars and other foods. They are fortified with 10% to 15% of the amount of carotene said to be converted to vitamin A.
The FDA caters to the food processing companies and allows them to equate carotene to vitamin A.
The possibility exists that reliance on plant sources of carotenes to provide vitamin A is misguided, and may eventually lead to vitamin A deficiencies, especially under stress like that of pregnancy, heavy workouts, and high protein low fat diets. Some researchers believe synthetic vitamin A inhibits the uptake of natural vitamin A found in foods.
Vitamin A found in foods consists of a complex of different compounds. But vitamin A as retinol capsules have been successful in reducing blindness and death among both children and adults with a 2 cent capsule. The program was administered on a village level and did not undermine traditional cultures or food ways.
Some Animal Food Sources of Vitamin A
There are 454 grams in a pound.
High vitamin cod liver oil 230,000 IUs per 100 grams
Regular cod liver oil 100,000 IUs per 100 grams
Duck Liver 40,000 IUs per 100 grams
Beef liver 35,000 IUs per 100 grams
Chicken liver, 3 oz.: 13,920 IU
Cheddar cheese, 1 oz: 300 IU
1 Egg, medium: 280 IU
Before prominence of the artificial food manufacturing companies, vitamin A was recommended especially for women in pregnancy and for infants and young children. It was only when primitive peoples turned away from their local foods and substituted the sugary foods of the white man that their health suddenly deteriorated.
They became victims of the same health problems that we experience today.
Many sources are warning against even moderate use of vitamin A in the diet, including our federal government.
Saturated fat intake has been discouraged, including substitution of polyunsaturated oils as margarines for butter. The decrease in conventional, or natural food sources has been accompanied by an increase in modern nutritional diseases.
In recent years we have witnessed an explosion in the health care industry. And some sources note that health care in this country is going downhill.
Please take the health care considerations of this website under advisement. Armed with as much information as you are able then make final decisions about your health care with a competent health care professional.
The following URLs contain information used in writing this report. Other sources follow.
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, D.D.S. 6th edition
Vitamin A Saga Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig Ph.D. This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the Quarterly magazine of the Weston A Price Foundation, Winter 2001.
There is a controversy in the scientific literature, and we do well to take heed.
The Home Page defines Nutritional Diseases.