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September 2022

Digestion. 1983 ; 27(2): 116-22.

Biological fate of the vitamin A transporting protein complex and beta-carotene after excessive dietary intake. Report of a case.

Mathus-Vliegen EM, Tytgat GN.

Epidemiological surveys indicate a relationship between the occurrence of cancer and vitamin A status. Potential accumulation and toxicity of vitamin A and its derivatives limit its therapeutical use. Administration of carotenoids is perhaps more promising, but information about biological and kinetic behaviour is scarce. This article deals with the prospective investigation of the kinetics of beta-carotene and vitamin A in a patient with excessive oral dietary intake. Normalization took 17 months after refraining from excessive intake of beta-carotene while consuming a vegetarian diet. Apparently high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A were not associated with toxicity phenomena in our patient. We, therefore, wonder whether dietary supplementation of carotenoids and vitamin A should be considered in research protocols regarding prevention and/or treatment of (pre)malignant conditions. Dietary supplementation of carotenoids, without apparent toxicity in our patient, should, therefore, be considered as an alternative in the prevention and/or treatment of (pre)malignant conditions. Further study of kinetics is, however, mandatory.

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