Last update: April 10, 2015

Vitamin A

Very Low Risk for breastfeeding

Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.

Retinol is also a name for vitamin A which is a natural component of human milk. Content in the human milk is about 2,800 IU/L (750 μ/L).

Infant's recommended dietary daily allowance is 2,000 IU (600 μ/L). Mother's recommended daily allowance is 3,200 IU (950 μ/L).

There is a risk for severe intoxication after an isolated dose of 25,000 IU or long-standing daily consumption of 5,000 IU.

After a megadose administration of vitamin A increases concentration to a double in the colostrum.

Supplementation with vitamin A to breastfeeding mothers or infants does not reduce mortality or morbidity among HIV affected offsprings, instead it increases the likelihood of transmission of HIV or subclinical mastitis in those mothers infected with HIV.

Vitamin A is widely distributed in the food of animal or vegetable origin. Except for populations affected with food shortage or nutritionally deficient, those women on a complete and varied diet do not need the intake of vitamin A supplementation

The List of Essential Medicines of WHO-2002 classifies it as compatible with breastfeeding.


We do not have alternatives for Vitamin A since it is relatively safe.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Vitamin A is also known as Retinol. Here it is a list of alternative known names::


Vitamin A belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Vitamin A in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Bioavailability 90 - 100 %
Molecular weight 287 daltons
Protein Binding 5 - 65 %
Tmax 3 - 5 hours


  1. Souza G, Dolinsky M, Matos A, Chagas C, Ramalho A. Vitamin A concentration in human milk and its relationship with liver reserve formation and compliance with the recommended daily intake of vitamin A in pre-term and term infants in exclusive breastfeeding. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2015 Abstract
  2. Grilo EC, Lima MS, Cunha LR, Gurgel CS, Clemente HA, Dimenstein R. Effect of maternal vitamin A supplementation on retinol concentration in colostrum. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2015 Abstract
  3. Ares Segura S, Arena Ansótegui J, Díaz-Gómez NM; en representación del Comité de Lactancia Materna de la Asociación Española de Pediatría. La importancia de la nutrición materna durante la lactancia, ¿necesitan las madres lactantes suplementos nutricionales? [The importance of maternal nutrition during breastfeeding: Do breastfeeding mothers need nutritional supplements?] An Pediatr (Barc). 2015 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Greco CB, López LB, Rodríguez V, Dyner L, Gibson V, Pinotti LV, Ronayne de Ferrer PA. Comparison of vitamin A intake from breast milk and from complementary foods in the diet of six-month old infants in Jujuy and Buenos Aires. Arch Argent Pediatr. 2014 Abstract
  5. Samba C, Tchibindat F, Gourmel B, Houzé P, Malvy D. Prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in pregnant and lactating women in the Republic of Congo. J Health Popul Nutr. 2013 Abstract
  6. Fernandes TF, Figueiroa JN, Grande de Arruda IK, Diniz Ada S. Effect on infant illness of maternal supplementation with 400 000 IU vs 200 000 IU of vitamin A. Pediatrics. 2012 Abstract
  7. de Pee S. Benefits of postpartum vitamin A supplementation. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2012 Abstract
  8. Souza G, Saunders C, Dolinsky M, Queiroz J, Campos A, Ramalho A. Vitamin A concentration in mature human milk. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2012 Abstract
  9. Wiysonge CS, Shey M, Kongnyuy EJ, Sterne JA, Brocklehurst P. Vitamin A supplementation for reducing the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Abstract
  10. Gogia S, Sachdev HS. Vitamin A supplementation for the prevention of morbidity and mortality in infants six months of age or less. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Abstract
  11. Gogia S, Sachdev HS. Maternal postpartum vitamin A supplementation for the prevention of mortality and morbidity in infancy: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Int J Epidemiol. 2010 Abstract
  12. Villamor E, Koulinska IN, Aboud S, Murrin C, Bosch RJ, Manji KP, Fawzi WW. Effect of vitamin supplements on HIV shedding in breast milk. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Abstract
  13. Arsenault JE, Aboud S, Manji KP, Fawzi WW, Villamor E. Vitamin supplementation increases risk of subclinical mastitis in HIV-infected women. J Nutr. 2010 Abstract
  14. Martins TM, Ferraz IS, Daneluzzi JC, Martinelli CE Jr, Del Ciampo LA, Ricco RG, Jordão AA Jr, Patta MC, Vannucchi H. Impact of maternal vitamin A supplementation on the mother-infant pair in Brazil. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Abstract
  15. Fisker AB. Comment on: 'Maternal postpartum vitamin A supplementation for the prevention of mortality and morbidity in infancy: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials'. Int J Epidemiol. 2010 Abstract
  16. Oliveira-Menegozzo JM, Bergamaschi DP, Middleton P, East CE. Vitamin A supplementation for postpartum women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Abstract
  17. van den Broek N, Dou L, Othman M, Neilson JP, Gates S, Gülmezoglu AM. Vitamin A supplementation during pregnancy for maternal and newborn outcomes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Abstract
  18. Hall Moran V, Lowe N, Crossland N, Berti C, Cetin I, Hermoso M, Koletzko B, Dykes F. Nutritional requirements during lactation. Towards European alignment of reference values: the EURRECA network. Matern Child Nutr. 2010 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  19. Ribeiro KD, Araújo KF, Dimenstein R. [The effect of vitamin A supplementation upon retinol concentration in the colostrum of women in a public maternity hospital]. Rev Assoc Med Bras. 2009 Abstract
  20. de Azeredo VB, Trugo NM. Retinol, carotenoids, and tocopherols in the milk of lactating adolescents and relationships with plasma concentrations. Nutrition. 2008 Abstract
  21. Israel-Ballard KA, Abrams BF, Coutsoudis A, Sibeko LN, Cheryk LA, Chantry CJ. Vitamin content of breast milk from HIV-1-infected mothers before and after flash-heat treatment. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Abstract
  22. Ahmed F, Azim A, Akhtaruzzaman M. Vitamin A deficiency in poor, urban, lactating women in Bangladesh: factors influencing vitamin A status. Public Health Nutr. 2003 Abstract
  23. Dimenstein R, Simplício JL, Ribeiro KD, Melo IL. [Retinol levels in human colostrum: influence of child, maternal and socioeconomic variables]. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2003 Abstract
  24. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  25. Christian P, West KP Jr, Khatry SK, Katz J, LeClerq SC, Kimbrough-Pradhan E, Dali SM, Shrestha SR. Vitamin A or beta-carotene supplementation reduces symptoms of illness in pregnant and lactating Nepali women. J Nutr. 2000 Abstract
  26. Doran L, Evers S. Energy and nutrient inadequacies in the diets of low-income women who breast-feed. J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Abstract
  27. Reinersdorff DV, Bush E, Liberato DJ. Plasma kinetics of vitamin A in humans after a single oral dose of [8,9,19-13C]retinyl palmitate. J Lipid Res. 1996 Abstract

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