Master Vitamin A (Retinol) Toxicity with Picmonic for Medicine

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.

Vitamin A (Retinol) Toxicity

Viking (A) Apple with excess apples and toxic green glow
Picmonic
Vitamin A, also called retinol, is an important vitamin that plays a role in a variety of functions throughout the body including vision and skin health. However toxic levels of vitamin A can accumulate in the body, commonly seen with the acne treatment isotretinoin, and lead to a variety of symptoms, including nausea, irritability, headaches, hair loss, blurry vision and arthralgias. Chronic vitamin A toxicity can cause hair loss, dry skin, fever, insomnia, hyperlipidemia, hepatotoxicity, anemia and diarrhea. Vitamin A is also teratogenic as toxic effects have been shown to significantly affect a developing fetus due to disruption of neural cell activity. Common teratogenic effects include cleft palate and cardiac abnormalities.
10 KEY FACTS
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Alopecia
Aloe-plant on bald head

Acute and chronic vitamin A consumption can cause hair loss in individuals, also known as alopecia.

Vision Changes
Delta Eyes

Vision changes, such as blurriness, are common symptoms of vitamin A toxicity.

Headache
Head-egg lump

Headaches are a common symptom seen in both acute and chronic vitamin A toxicity.

Skin Changes
Changing into Skin-suit

Drying of the skin and mucous membranes is a common sign of chronic vitamin A consumption. Other skin changes include discoloration and a rash.

Hyperlipidemia
Hiker-lips

Hyperlipidemia involves abnormally elevated levels of lipids in the blood and can result from chronic vitamin A toxicity. Although the exact mechanism is poorly understood, the hyperlipidemia may result from damage to stellate cells in the liver which store both vitamin A and fat.

Hepatotoxicity
Liver with Toxic-green-glow

Vitamin A is largely stored in the fat storing cells of the liver and can undergo hypertrophy and hyperplasia as vitamin A storage increases. Hypertrophy of these cells can result in narrowing of the space of Disse, obstruction of sinusoidal blood flow, portal hypertension, and hepatocyte death and fibrosis. Vitamin A hepatotoxicity has been reported when individuals take doses exceeding 50,000 IU/day.

Arthralgias
King Arthur-algae

Excessive vitamin A consumption can lead to muscle pain and weakness.

Teratogen
Tarantula-gem

Vitamin A is teratogenic as toxic effects have been shown to significantly affect a developing fetus due to disruption of neural cell activity. Due to the teratogenic effects, women on isotretinoin require two forms of birth control.

Cleft palate
Cleft-cracked Plate

Cleft palate is a birth defect in which the two plates of the skull that form the roof of the mouth are not completely fused. Cleft palate can occur in infants whose mothers ingested large amounts of vitamin A during pregnancy.

Cardiac Abnormalities
Heart

Vitamin A is a teratogen, meaning it can cause birth defects when taken during pregnancy. Heart abnormalities are common in infants whose mothers ingested large amounts of vitamin A during pregnancy.

Unlock all 10 facts & definitions with Picmonic Free!

JOIN FREE

Take the Vitamin A (Retinol) Toxicity Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

START QUIZ NOW

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Ace Your Medical (MD/DO) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 870,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Medical (MD/DO) student study app.

Picmonic for Medicine (MD/DO) covers information that is relevant to your entire Medical (MD/DO) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, COMLEX Level 1, or COMLEX Level 2, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Medical (MD/DO) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.