The effect of vitamin A supplementation on serum retinol and retinol binding protein levels

Cancer Lett. 1985 Nov;29(2):203-13. doi: 10.1016/0304-3835(85)90160-0.


A randomised double blind controlled trial was conducted to see whether vitamin A supplementation in the form of retinyl palmitate would increase the concentrations of serum retinol and retinol binding protein. A total of 376 people were studied and were allocated to one of 7 regimens covering doses of vitamin A from O (placebo) to 36,000 IU daily. Supplementation continued for 6 months and blood samples were collected immediately before the start of supplementation, after 3 months and after 6 months. There was a small but statistically significant increase in serum retinol levels associated with supplementation, but no significant increase in serum retinol binding protein. The extent of the increase in serum retinol was related to the extent of the supplementation. On average, for every 10,000 IU of retinyl palmitate per day, the serum retinol concentration increased by 13 micrograms/l after 3 months (an increase of 2%) and 12 micrograms/l after 6 months of supplementation (2% increase). All the regimens used showed no evidence of toxicity other than minor symptomatic and physical changes affecting the skin and mucous membranes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diterpenes
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane / drug effects
  • Random Allocation
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / analysis*
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Seasons
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Vitamin A / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin A / blood*
  • Vitamin A / therapeutic use*


  • Diterpenes
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins
  • Retinyl Esters
  • Vitamin A
  • retinol palmitate