CHOICE membership

JUNE FOOD CHAMPION’S CHALLENGE - Foods with valid health claims

It seems low. I’ve eaten over half a kilo of lamb liver in a day (close enough to 60 times the RDI) and near on 2kgs in a week, with no signs of toxicity?

I couldn’t get that page to load, is there something there you wouldn’t mind re-posting? I’ve previously searched for cases of vitamin A toxicity (specifically from eating liver, not suppliements) and I cannot find anything.

2 Likes

From the footnoted article:

Health Risks from Excessive Vitamin A

Because vitamin A is fat soluble, the body stores excess amounts, primarily in the liver, and these levels can accumulate. Although excess preformed vitamin A can have significant toxicity (known as hypervitaminosis A), large amounts of beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids are not associated with major adverse effects [38]. The manifestations of hypervitaminosis A depend on the size and rapidity of the excess intake. The symptoms of hypervitaminosis A following sudden, massive intakes of vitamin A, as with Arctic explorers who ate polar bear liver, are acute [39]. Chronic intakes of excess vitamin A lead to increased intracranial pressure (pseudotumor cerebri), dizziness, nausea, headaches, skin irritation, pain in joints and bones, coma, and even death [2,4,5]. Although hypervitaminosis A can be due to excessive dietary intakes, the condition is usually a result of consuming too much preformed vitamin A from supplements or therapeutic retinoids [3,5]. When people consume too much vitamin A, their tissue levels take a long time to fall after they discontinue their intake, and the resulting liver damage is not always reversible.

Observational studies have suggested an association between high intakes of preformed vitamin A (more than 1,500 mcg daily—only slightly higher than the RDA), reduced bone mineral density, and increased fracture risk [1,4,40]. However, the results of studies on this risk have been mixed, so the safe retinol intake level for this association is unknown.

Total intakes of preformed vitamin A that exceed the UL and some synthetic retinoids used as topical therapies (such as isotretinoin and etretinate) can cause congenital birth defects [2-4]. These birth defects can include malformations of the eye, skull, lungs, and heart [4]. Women who might be pregnant should not take high doses of vitamin A supplements [2].

Unlike preformed vitamin A, beta-carotene is not known to be teratogenic or lead to reproductive toxicity [1]. And even large supplemental doses (20–30 mg/day) of beta-carotene or diets with high levels of carotenoid-rich food for long periods are not associated with toxicity. The most significant effect of long-term, excess beta-carotene is carotenodermia, a harmless condition in which the skin becomes yellow-orange [1,25]. This condition can be reversed by discontinuing beta-carotene ingestion.

Supplementation with beta-carotene, with or without retinyl palmitate, for 5–8 years has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease in current and former male and female smokers and in male current and former smokers occupationally exposed to asbestos [27,41]. In the ATBC study, beta-carotene supplements (20 mg daily) were also associated with increased mortality, mainly due to lung cancer and ischemic heart disease [27]. The CARET study ended early, after the investigators found that daily beta-carotene (30 mg) and retinyl palmitate (7,500 mcg RAE [25,000 IU]) supplements increased the risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality [41].

The FNB has established ULs for preformed vitamin A that apply to both food and supplement intakes [5]. The FNB based these ULs on the amounts associated with an increased risk of liver abnormalities in men and women, teratogenic effects, and a range of toxic effects in infants and children. The FNB also considered levels of preformed vitamin A associated with decreased bone mineral density, but did not use these data as the basis for its ULs because the evidence was conflicting. The FNB has not established ULs for beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids [25]. The FNB advises against beta-carotene supplements for the general population, except as a provitamin A source to prevent vitamin A deficiency.

Table 3: Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs) for Preformed Vitamin A [5]*

Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
0–12 months 600 mcg 600 mcg
1–3 years 600 mcg 600 mcg
4–8 years 900 mcg 900 mcg
9–13 years 1,700 mcg 1,700 mcg
14–18 years 2,800 mcg 2,800 mcg 2,800 mcg 2,800 mcg
19+ years 3,000 mcg 3,000 mcg 3,000 mcg 3,000 mcg
  • These ULs only apply to products from animal sources and supplements whose vitamin A comes entirely from retinol or its ester forms, such as retinyl palmitate. However, many dietary supplements (such as multivitamins) do not provide all of their vitamin A as retinol or its ester forms. For example, the vitamin A in some supplements consists partly or entirely of beta-carotene or other provitamin A carotenoids. In such cases, the percentage of retinol or retinyl ester in the supplement should be used to determine whether an individual’s vitamin A intake exceeds the UL. For example, a supplement whose label indicates that the product contains 3,000 mcg RAE vitamin A and that 60% of this vitamin A comes from beta-carotene (and therefore 40% comes from retinol or retinyl ester) provides 1,200 mcg RAE of preformed vitamin A. That amount is above the UL for children from birth to 8 years but below the UL for older children and adults.
2 Likes

I’m partial to lambs fry and bacon, made with a rich gravy. Typically several times each year.

Vitamin A toxicity was one of the causes attributed to symptoms and one death on Douglas Mawsons tragic Antarctic expedition.

There is some conjecture historically about events. The lesson we learnt as youngsters was never to eat dog meat or liver because it was poison to humans. That may have been fuelled by discriminatory overtones from the day, knowing the wide range of meats consumed in SE Asia.

One review of what happened on Mawson’s expedition suggests alternate medical reasons for the observed outcomes. It had less to do with Vitamin A, and more to do with lack of nutrition. Interestingly from a nutrition viewpoint Mertz was a vegetarian and managed the rigours of the expedition on a substantially non meat products diet. At least up until they started eating their dogs.

4 Likes

Dog livers do contain a large amount of Vit A, enough if eaten frequently enough to cause concern. They store the Vit A in the hepatic stellate cells. Most wild carnivore animals have similar high levels, that is why polar bear livers are toxic to eat in large amounts.

4 Likes

Lamb fry and bacon amounting to 1.2kilo (800gms + 400gms). For how many people???

Depending on how big your eyes are - 4 to 6 might seem very generous. We used to feed a family of 6 with less than one pound weight of lambs liver (450gm approx) for breakfast.

The gold standard for energy in comparison might be the quarter pounder (112gm at a guess) which comes optionally with extras such as fake cheese, bacon, sauces etc.

1 Like

Parsley is great for many reasons, as well it contains apigen which supports NAD. Dill helps maintain elasticity in the body. Cooked tomatoes are healthier, and i skins an seeds contain lectins. I use an inexpensive passata maker to separate skin’s and seeds from tomatoes when using many.

Cholesterol is synthesised in the body and a precursor to various hormones and other functions.
I am disturbed by medical approaches to cholesterol, alleging certain foods are bad because of their cholesterol content when in fact it is broken down in digestion ie physiological ignorance.
My cholesterol balance is fine so not interested.
if I was would read physiology for truth.

Yes, health risks. Asthmatics have reported a hugely positive reversal on 40,000 to 50,000 units vt D per day. No Iill effects over years. In contrast to the seratide or cymbicort corticosteroid asthma “preventers “ which exacerbate asthma and allergies. I was put on these for 14 years. Are cortisol mimics, ie systemic catabolic hormones, suppressing own cortisol production and thus all DHEA a protective anabolic hormone against the cortisol damage. Given my two neighbours after 6 years on this needed knee and hip replacements, osteoporosis, hair loss, cataracts and one died from a brain tumour, and had very accelerated aging, asthmatics like me no longer fear vit A.
NO ONE ever complains about the cortisol mimics.

I am sorry I don’t follow you at all. I don’t see what the rest of your post has to do with vitamin A nor why one might or might not fear it.

1 Like

Just about every study concerning the health benefit of a particular food type needs to be taken with a grain of salt :wink:
Common sense is the best diet.

Hi @elfinawe and welcome to the community. Good nutrition is important. I’m probably in the camp that lack common sense, or it’s just a convenient excuse.

Unfortunately the link to New Scientist is paywalled, which limits it’s value as shared content.

In the absence of that advice, there are many useful guidelines provided by the government health departments.
EG.

P.S.
I don’t think they recommended added salt, but perhaps just one grain might be OK. :wink:

2 Likes

Seems to be a potential issue with the livers of carnivorous animals, no records of toxic doses from sheep/cow/chicken etc. Even then, there isn’t a single case of confirmed death from eating too much liver of any animal. Two cases I can find;

  1. Mawson’s expedition. Mertz, speculated that it was the cause of death, unconfirmed.
  2. Gerrit de Veer expedition. Polar bear liver, they got sick and all recovered.

Excessive supplementation is definitely a major issue for preformed Vit A. Very easily absorbed and difficult for the body to dispose of.

One thing you do need to be mindful of is that livers and other organs can accumulate environmental poisons more than muscle meat. So I think it’s worthwhile chasing down free-range and organic for your livers.

https://www.alliedacademies.org/articles/appraisal-of--lead-in-the-organs-and-tissues-of-domestic-chicken-gallus-gallus-domesticus-in-ibadan.html

3 Likes

LOL. The article mainly discusses the barriers to discovering a direct correlation between a particular diet or food type and health benefits or issues. For example, educated, well off people may eat a ‘good’ diet but are also more likely to exercise and access good health care.

Only 2 people but we eat it for several meals.

I wonder why rice is not inspected to ensure the level of arsenic is at a safe level before it is sent to the shops

A couple of articles regarding health benefits of rice.

Coffee.

Ok I’m heavily biased because I’m heavily addicted… but the research is there!!! “Probably harmless and possibly healthy” seems pretty good these days :joy:

And the WHO is not the only organization to include coffee in its list of foods that are probably harmless and possibly healthy. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (commissioned by the secretaries of the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture) thoroughly reviewed the evidence and declared that “moderate coffee consumption (three to five cups per day) can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern…” And the World Cancer Research Fund International concluded that coffee consumption was linked with a lower risk of several types of cancer.

It is safe, however, regular long term consumption of As may increase the risks of various types of cancer, Narrowing or blockage of blood vessels (vascular disease), High blood pressure (hypertension), Heart disease and Type 2 diabetes .

Arsenic in rice may pose a health risk to those who eat rice every day in considerable amounts. This mainly applies to people in Asia or people with Asian-based diets where they often have rice three times a day (breakfast rice congee and steamed/boiled rice with lunch and dinner), every day.

The arsenic content of rice can be reduced by washing and cooking the rice with clean uncontaminated water.

Brown rice also generally has a higher concentration of As than white rice, so eating white rice may reduce risks compared to brown rice. It is worth noting that brown rice has other health benefits which also need to be considered before making the swap.

Like many other foods to which this also applies, research indicates that if you eat rice in moderation as a part of a varied diet, there is unlikely to be any significant long term health risks.

If one eats solely an Asian diet high is rice, then one should possibly consider sourcing rice low in As or undertaking measures to reduce the amount of As in cooked rice.

2 Likes

Yes at a couple of cuppas a day the evidence indicates that it is not an issue. At high consumption over longer periods, it is known to have some negative health effects. Like with any foods or drinks, the key is moderation and variety in the diet.

2 Likes