Last update July 16, 2022
Very Low Risk
Vitamin A is widely distributed in animal and plant foods. Except in certain nutritionally deficient populations, with a varied and balanced diet, vitamin A supplements are not necessary in most women. (Gannon 2020)
Retinol or vitamin A is a natural component of breast milk. It contains about 750 μg/L (1 μg = 1 mcg = 1 microgram = 3.33 IU of Vit. A).
The daily needs of the infant are 400-500 μg and in the nursing mother 1,200-1,300 μg (NIH 2018, Ares 2015, Hall 2010). Doses of more than 3,000 μg daily (10,000 IU) should be avoided in the nursing mother (NIH 2018). There is a risk of serious poisoning with isolated doses of 25,000 IU and chronic doses of 5,000 IU per day.
Vitamin A deficiency leads to xerophthalmia, anemia, growth retardation, and increased infectious morbidity and mortality (Sommer 2002). In regions with serious socioeconomic problems, there is a high prevalence of vitamin A deficiency. (Souza 2012, Ahmed 2003)
There is no conclusive evidence that the administration of mega doses (200,000 - 400,000 IU) of postpartum vitamin A is effective in reducing maternal or infant morbidity and mortality (Oliveira 2016, Grilo 2016, McCauley 2015, Fernandes 2012, Gogia 2011 and 2010) or that it reduces the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (Wiysonge 2017) and may increase the risk of HIV transmission and mastitis in HIV-infected mothers (Villamor 2010, Arsenault 2010). Administering mega doses of vitamin A increases the colostrum concentration of vitamin A but reduces that of alpha-tocopherol or vitamin E. (Grilo 2016 and 2015)
WHO 2002 Essential Medicines List: Compatible with breastfeeding. (WHO 2002)
We do not have alternatives for Vitamin A since it is relatively safe.
Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.
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.
e-lactancia is a resource recommended by Asociación Pro Lactancia Materna (APROLAM) of Mexico
Would you like to recommend the use of e-lactancia? Write to us at corporate mail of APILAM