Vitamin A is toxic
This is one of the most common myths and often arises from confusion about the Recommended Daily Amounts (RDA) for oral consumption. The RDA is the minimum amount needed to prevent diseases such as rickets and scurvy, NOT the maximum. According to the European Food Safety Authority, the upper tolerable level is 10,000 ius daily, and experts argue that it should be much higher.
Dr Fernandes is a strong advocate of supplementing with vitamin A. “When we apply vitamin A to the skin, only a fraction of it penetrates down to the level of the dermis and even the most sophisticated modern tests have barely been able to detect any vitamin A in the bloodstream even when very high doses are applied”, he says.
“I feel nervous if I don’t apply it every day via my Environ® creams, and feel more assured if I take 40,000 – 50,000 ius of vitamin A daily”, he adds. “It works with our DNA to determine how skin cells behave, how they differentiate into specialist cells and how they mature, not just in our skin but throughout our whole body… It is fundamentally the most important molecule in addressing sun damage and anti-ageing. There is nothing else like it”.
Lorraine Perretta, Head of Nutrition at the International Institute for Anti-Ageing (IIAA), agrees that taking vitamin A orally is key. “It’s important to feed the skin internally as well as externally. Unless you eat liver a few times a week, you will find it very hard to get adequate vitamin A levels from your diet, so I’d recommend at least 5000 ius a day.”
Adapted from a post in the September 2017 IIAA Bulletin