From: Wardee Harmon
May 19, 2022
Eating low Vitamin A?
At first glance, many (including me, at first) might scoff at this saying…
“What? I thought Vitamin A is good for us?”
Let me put this idea out there: too much Vitamin A might NOT be good for us.
Especially when you consider that in modern healthy eating, we have been consuming foods that are significantly high in Vitamin A such as organ meats, cod liver oil, egg yolks, butter, and the rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
We eat these foods in higher and more regular quantities than traditional societies likely did.
With a global food supply, we have greater access to them.
We’ve been convinced to seek them out and consume them not only daily, but in superfood quantities and often out of season (for instance, tomatoes year-round).
And prior to this, before many of us saw the “light” and started eating healthy, we grew up on grains, cereals, pasta, and conventional milk that were all fortified synthetic with Vitamin A. (Thank you, government.)
Many teens were and still are given Accutane (a derivative of Vitamin A) to control acne. Aging women are smearing retinol cream on their faces, also Vitamin A.
Many people are on medications that damage the liver and make us less able to handle the Vitamin A we consume.
It’s become clear to us (my husband and I) that while we’ve all had great intentions, we have been unknowingly consuming Vitamin A at unprecedented levels… levels which traditional societies probably never did.
And sadly, research shows that all the other toxins of modern life — stress, glyphosate and other pesticide contamination, medications, mercury fillings, polluted water and air, mold, you name it — exacerbate our health conditions, including Vitamin A toxicity (excess Vitamin A), making it more of an issue for modern society.
All of these reasons, as well as reaching crises with our own health conditions, are why my husband and I decided there might be something to eating low Vitamin A.
In the Fall of 2020, my husband started getting debilitating neuropathic (nerve) pain in his feet. It got so bad that on Christmas Eve that same year, we had to buy a him wheelchair because he couldn’t walk without excruciating pain.
He has been on strong pain medications ever since, just to make it bearable and so he can hobble around a bit (he is not currently using the wheelchair).
While he’s had low energy and muscle stiffness his whole life as well as other complaints, this peripheral neuropathy in his feet is at another level.
The interesting (sad?) thing is that his foot pain coincides with him starting to consume fairly high amounts of liver daily.
When growing up, he consumed gobs of fortified milk and cereal… and he took Accutane as a teenager for acne. We think these things may have set him on the wrong foot early on. 🙁
My own story is that even though we have been eating healthy for over 10 years and certain health issues improved for me (seasonal allergies healed), in other ways I kept getting sicker.
I’m writing this in May 2022, and a little over a year ago, I developed digestive problems. Beyond chronic constipation and feeling more and more tired, I started getting painful digestive cramps, gas, and bloating, increasing throughout the day and building up to misery at night.
Although I didn’t see a doctor about it, I concluded based on the severity and duration of symptoms that I was suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
A few months later, I started itching all over. My skin felt like fire ants were crawling all over me, particularly flaring up right after meals and in the evening and bedtime.
Again, doing my own research, I concluded I was suffering from histamine intolerance.
I was able to lessen the digestive and histamine symptoms by eating strict low FODMAP and low histamine (eating only a handful of foods). Yet, if I strayed, the symptoms came back.
Interestingly, prior to my crisis, I had been eating liver, fish oil, egg yolks, and high-fat keto.
I should also add that over 15 years ago, a naturopathic doctor in Oregon told me I had Vitamin A toxicity… but I was not given any direction for that, nor did I look into it myself at the time.
I’m telling you all this so can hear OUR reasons for wanting to give a low Vitamin A a try.
We are your guinea pigs and you can watch us if you feel hesitant yourself. 🙂
We were hesitant at first, too — while watching my friend Megan Stevens (from Eat Beautiful blog) and her family follow this for 3 years.
She’s reversed multiple auto-immune conditions during the 3 years, including Hashimoto’s, leaky gut, and a bladder disease.
We saw this, and then when things got bad enough for us recently, we decided we may as well try it.
At the time of this writing, I’ve been eating low Vitamin A for about 4 months and my husband for nearly 3 months.
I have finally been able to reintroduce some FODMAP and histamine foods without symptoms. I am still careful because I don’t want to go too fast and be miserable. I am not constipated any more. I’ve been able to reduce my thyroid medication a bit and wean off other bio-identical hormones. I’m working through other things, too, but they will take time.
My husband stopped taking his pain medication and his feet are starting to feel better. He is able to go for 20 minute walks every other day now. We expect slow healing for him, and we don’t know if his feet will ever fully heal. That is our hope, though!
If you’d like to know more about low Vitamin A, you may as well hear it from the source… naturopathic doctor Garrett Smith, the world’s leading expert on Vitamin A toxicity and healing from it.
I interviewed him recently and you can listen to (or read) the interview in our Healthy Diets eCourse that is included in our Bible-based cooking program (more info).
Now I’d like to give you my opinion on who might consider eating low Vitamin A.
At the very least… anyone with chronic health conditions who is not getting better.
And I would suggest to all in our community that we should revise our thinking on some superfoods — especially liver and cod liver oil.
Our family has stopped consuming both and we will likely not return to them (and I will be updating our materials accordingly).
If you feel they are not hurting you, that is fine. I would just caution you to consider eating them occasionally rather than regularly.
Certainly God designed our bodies to eat the foods of this world, yet in simpler times, people probably didn’t gorge on superfoods like we do today, nor did they live surrounded by unprecedented levels of toxins.
If you’re open to it at all…
Here is how to get more information from the expert… naturopathic doctor Garrett Smith.
He shares the research and big ideas behind low Vitamin A, how it works, who might benefit, and more particulars you might want to know if you’re considering it… or open to learning more.
I added my video interview with Dr. Smith (along with printable transcript PDF) to our Healthy Diets eCourse that’s part of our Bible-based cooking program. Join us right here!
Thank you for reading, and God bless you!
Lead Teacher and Owner, Traditional Cooking School