Hematopoietic studies in vitamin A deficiency

Am J Clin Nutr. 1978 May;31(5):876-85. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/31.5.876.


Recent studies of experimental vitamin A deficiency in man led the authors to conclude that anemia may result from lack of vitamin A. A review of numerous nutrition surveys in underdeveloped countries enhanced the suspicion that deficiency of vitamin A does contribute to the prevalence of anemia. Preliminary studies of vitamin A-deficient rats confirmed previous observations that anemia may result from lack of this vitamin. The livers of these animals had very low concentrations of vitamin A but normal or increased concentrations of iron. The finding of anemia is in contrast with other reports that vitamin A deficiency may cause elevated values for hemoglobin and hematocrit. The authors suggest that loss of taste and smell as a result of deficiency may account for refusal of experimental animals to eat and drink enough to prevent inanitation and dehydration. The resulting hemoconcentration may mask the true hematological picture, which is one of anemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia / drug therapy
  • Anemia / etiology*
  • Animals
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Ferrous Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Hematopoiesis*
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rats
  • Vitamin A / metabolism
  • Vitamin A / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin A Deficiency / drug therapy


  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Hemoglobins
  • Vitamin A