How Common Is Vitamin A Poisoning?

How Common Is Vitamin A Poisoning?

How Common Is Vitamin A Poisoning?


Contrary to popular belief, vitamin A poisoning appears to be a surprisingly common occurrence. 

Based on liver biopsies conducted over the past 60 years, it has been found that vitamin A poisoning can affect up to 65% of the population.

You can find some of those studies further below.

This list largely builds on Dr. Garrett Smith’s presentation. (Although I have recalculated some of Dr. Smith’s numbers and arrived at slightly different percentages in some cases.) 

Definiton of vitamin A poisoning

Retinol (vitamin A) can be measured in different ways and the results can be expressed in different units. Different studies use different units.

Vitamin A poisoning is confirmed during a liver biopsy at levels of above 1 umol/g. 

> 1 umol/g = 286 mcg/g = 286 mg/kg = 953 IU/g

Those values are often rounded up to:

> 300 mcg/g = 300 ug/g = 300 mg/kg

> 1,000 IU/g

This refers to the amount of vitamin A  per gram (or kg) of examined liver tissue. 

Liver biopsy studies show widespread chronic vitamin A poisoning

Here is a list of studies that have examined the vitamin A levels in livers of human cadavers via a liver biopsy (the only reliable test to determine retinol content).

(1)  33% positive for vitamin A poisoning, USA, 2018

27 different cadavers were examined. Nine of them showed retinol levels above 1 umol/g.

“Nine subjects (33%) had hypervitaminosis A (≥1.0 μmol VA/g liver)

The study was performed in the US and published in 2018.

Source: Serum retinyl esters are positively correlated with analyzed total liver vitamin A reserves collected from US adults at time of death” (full text)

(2)  13.7% to 40% positive for vitamin A poisoning, Singapore, 1988

363 different tissue samples of Singaporeans of different ethnicities were examined.


  • 13.7% of Indian Singaporeans
  • 19.4% of Chinese Singaporeans
  • 24% of Malay Singaporeans
  • 40% of Caucasian and Eurasian Singaporeans

were shown to have hypervitaminosis A (levels of over 300 mg vit A/ kg liver). 

10% had vit A levels of over 500 mg/kg:

​​”At the extreme end of the range, 9% of the subjects had concentrations above 500 mg/kg and 1 % of the subjects had concentrations above 1000 mg vitamin A/kg in the liver.”

Interestingly, there were also a number of individuals who had a retinol value of 0 mg/kg in the liver. Those were taken from healthy accident victims. Did anyone try to find out how they were doing before they died? Was their eyesight heavily impaired? Were they of extremely poor health? What symptoms did they have? If none, how does this fit the idea that vitamin A deficiency is a serious condition that needs fixing? Or are the zero values possibly a result of a laboratory error? Surprisingly, no one seems to have followed up on this issue, neither in this nor any other study. 

Source: “Vitamin A reserve of liver in health and coronary heart disease among ethnic groups in Singapore” 

study singapore percentages

Values above 300 mg of vitamin A per kg meet the criteria of vitamin A poisoning. 

(3)  23% to 41% positive for vitamin A poisoning, New Zealand, 1951, 1960-61

The results of this study have been presented in a rather chaotic way, hence it is not clear what the correct percentage is that met the criteria of vitamin A poisoning.

But it’s either a minimum of 23.4% or as high as 41.3%. 

The text says that a total of 111 samples from as many cadavers were collected, but the graph with the results depicts only 75. 

Another problem: Vitamin A poisoning is defined with values of above 1,000 IU/g, but there is no range which starts with this value in the graph with the results. The relevant bracket starts with 900 IU/g. 

If all the results (10) in that bracket (900 – 1,199 IU/g) are counted as positive for vitamin A poisoning group, then the total of those cases would be 31. 

If we were to approach it conservatively, and say that only half of that bracket (5) is counted as positive for vitamin A poisoning, then the total would be 26 cases. 

Consequently, the results would be:

If all 111 samples are considered, this would mean that 31/111 or 27.9% met the definition of vitamin A poisoning. If one chooses the conservative estimation and calculates with 26 total cases, then the percentage drops to 26/111 = 23.4%. 

If only 75 samples are considered, then this jumps to 31/75, or 41.3% who met the definition of vitamin A poisoning. Or 26/75 = 34.7%. 

So, I believe that a minimum of 23.4% and a maximum of 41.3% of the samples tested positive for vitamin A poisoning.

Source: “Vitamin A content of human liver from autopsies in New Zealand”

new zealand vitamin a toxicity

The study text mentions 111 samples, but strangely, only 75 are included in the graph with the results. 

(4)  49% positive for vitamin A poisoning, Ghana, 1963

49 liver samples were examined. 24 of them had vitamin A levels above 300 ug/g, which meets the criteria for vitamin A poisoning. That’s nearly half, or 49%.

“The vitamin-A content of the forty-nine livers varied considerably-from 32 ug. per g. to 3635 ug. Twenty-four of the livers showed vitamin-A levels above 300 ug. per g. (…)”


(5)  65% positive for vitamin A poisoning, Ghana, 1967

17 liver samples were examined from diseased people. 11 of them had vitamin A levels above 300 ug/g. That’s 65%.

Source: “Distribution of carotene and vitamin A in liver, pancreas and body fat of Ghanaians”

new zealand vitamin a toxicity

The results are presented in ug/100 g, so to get to ug/g, they need to be divided by 100. All the results which exceed 300 ug/g (or 30,000 ug/100g) and so meet the criteria for vitamin A poisoning are marked in pink. 

(6)  Around 4.9% to 21.9% positive for vitamin A poisoning, Canada, 1969

467 liver samples were collected in different Canadian cities (Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Vancouver).

Between 4.9% and 21.9% were in the highest bracket of above 240 ug/g. Vitamin A toxicity is defined as values of above 300 ug/g. Unfortunately, the study did not include such a range. So, the actual percentage of vitamin A toxic individuals was likely slightly less than the above numbers.

Source: Vitamin A Reserves of Canadians

new zealand vitamin a toxicity

Since vitamin A toxicity is defined as values of above 300 ug/g, the real percentage of vitamin A poisoned individuals was likely slightly lower than the ones in the highest bracket which starts at 240 ug/g.

(7)  10% positive for vitamin A poisoning, USA, 1970

100 liver samples were examined. 10 of them met the definition of vitamin A poisoning of above 300 ug/g.

Source: “Liver stores of vitamin A in a normal population dying suddenly or rapidly from unnatural causes in New York City”

new zealand vitamin a toxicity

10 out of 100 – that’s 10%. 

(8)  24,2% positive for vitamin A poisoning, USA, 1973

329 liver samples from dead people were collected and analyzed. 24.2% met the criteria for vitamin A poisoning of above 300 ug/g.

Source: Vitamin A and carotene levels of a selected population in metropolitan Washington, D. C.”

new zealand vitamin a toxicity

24.2% out of 329 subjects in Washington D.C. turned out to be vitamin A poisoned in 1973. 

(9)  31% positive for vitamin A poisoning, UK, 1982

364 liver samples were examined, 30.9% were above 300 mg/kg. 

Source: A survey of human liver reserves of retinol in London”

new zealand vitamin a toxicity

Nearly 31% of examined Londoners met the definition of vitamin A toxicity in 1982. 

(10)  Around 20% positive for vitamin A poisoning, USA, 1972

364 liver samples were examined, 30.9% were above 300 mg/kg. 

Source: Vitamin A concentration in human tissues collected from five areas in the United States

new zealand vitamin a toxicity

Vitamin A toxicity starts at 300 ug/g. Unfortunately, the above table did not have such a range. So, it is not clear how many individuals in the 201-500 ug/g bracket were above 300 ug/g. But it is probably not far-fetched to assume that the combined average of individuals above 300 ug/g. was at around 20%. 

Picture credit:


Copyright: jackmac34


Carnivores Who Got Sick from Eating Liver

Carnivores Who Got Sick from Eating Liver

Carnivores Who Got Sick from Eating Liver


Below is a list of people who experienced negative symptoms while following a carnivore diet and who were eating liver at the same time.

Some symptoms were debilitating, others minor. All of them felt like they were getting worse on the carnivore diet to one degree or another. Some of them abandoned it and improved after adding plant foods.

ALL of them were or are still eating liver.

The negative symptoms range from a generally declining sense of well-being, fatigue, constipation, anxiety, depression, cramps, insomnia, to hair loss, dry skin, acne, bloating, dizzyness, lethargy, feeling cold, irritability, cramps, heart palpitations, low testosterone, bad PMS, migraines.

How can this be explained? What is it about liver (but also other organs) that would explain those drastic reactions?

I believe it likely comes down to two factors: vitamin A and copper.

Liver (but also other organs) has excessive amounts of both.

Depending on the animal, the vitamin A content can reach 66,000 IU / 100 gr (the RDA is 2,700 to 3,000 IU per day).

Copper in beef liver can reach 14.3 mg / 100 gr. (The RDA for copper is 0.9 mg per day.)

Vitamin A poisoning from various types of livers has been documented in the medical literature dozens of times.

Many of the reported symptoms also match those of copper poisoning.

Examples of Carnivores Who Got Sick From Eating Liver

The following accounts were taken either from Youtube, X, reddit or other public platforms. Others are taken from Facebook groups like the The World Carnivore Tribe (WCT), Muscle Meat Carnivore (MMC), Principia Carnivora (PC), or The Lion Diet (TLD), Don’t Eat That (DET), KetoAF (KAF), Carnivore Nation (CN) or other carnivore or carnivore-centric groups. (The list contains a few non-carnivore examples, but most were on a zero carb diet.)

Posts from WTC and other open platforms are public, so they are reposted here them with the authors’ names. The other groups are private, so to read the original posts you need be a member of those groups.

The list was originally published in the Muscle Meat Carnivore group on Facebook, where it is continually updated.

1. Frank Tufano

Frank used to be carnivore for 8 years. During this time he used to eat and heavily promote the eating of liver:

He also sells liver and raw cod liver oil:

He developed the following symptoms: Insomnia, extreme pain, had the most miserable time of his life, digestive issues, candida, SIBO, h. pylori, low vitamin C levels, feeling of his heart exploding:

Interestingly, his problems were not fixed after switching to a muscle meat only diet, which has been also my experience. Once I hurt myself by eating organs, simply going back to muscle meat did not fix it. For some people, this can be the solution, others have to take supplements to get better, as did I.

Interesting point: he used to take Accutane, which is retinoic acid, a type of vitamin A. It is not unusual for people to get sick years or even decades post Accutane use (something he discounts), which could be due to the liver slowly releasing its vit A stores.

He blames iron overload as the source of his problems.

He improved by donating blood and adding plant based foods.

He now warns against the carnivore diet but still recommends the consumption of organs:

2. Dr. Paul Saladino

Shortly after publishing his book “The Carnivore Code” which promoted the “nose-to-tail” type of carnivore diet with ample consumption of organs, Dr. Saladino announced that he wasn’t following that very diet anymore but started eating fruits and honey, instead. He later admitted that his diet caused him cramps, heart palpitations, lower testosterone, and an overall feeling of declining well-being:

He has since improved by regularly donating blood and by adding high vit C foods (fruit):

3. Carnivore Aurelius

He used to be carnivore, but has since abandoned it, is eating fruit and honey and possibly other plant foods. He still sells liver products and promotes the consumption of liver:

It is not clear why he abandoned the pure carnivore diet (if you know, please let us know in the comments), but he has been posting about how to increase testosterone levels, and how ginger can improve gut health, boosts mood and improves thyroid function — so those seem to be issues which have been on his mind.


4. Tanya Huang (WCT)

Experienced dry skin, dry eyes, dry lips and depression when she was eating liver, eggs, cheese, and whipped cream. She also used to take cod liver oil extract which caused her a feeling of sadness during the one week period she took it. She experienced the same when drinking carrot juice in the past and taking Accutane (a type of vitamin A). Mood lifted a few days after stopping the high vit A foods.

5. Zion Ori (WCT)

A few days into the carnivore he experienced serious constipation, bloating, acne. Has been eating cod fish liver and pork liver.

6. Olivia LaVon Pacheco (WCT)

Managed to go pure carnivore only for 6 weeks, since she was feeling miserable, had digestive problems, and experienced “the worst cramping” during her period. She then had to abandon the diet. When asked whether she ate any liver during those 6 carnivore weeks, she said yes. (comments section)

7. Matt Grenoble and wife (WCT)

Went full carnivore for 4 months, intensified hormone imbalance in wife (feeling cold, feeling on edge, constipation, more intense periods). Liver was included in the diet (comments section)

8. Josh Capes (WCT)

Carnivore for 90 days, feeling dizzy, lethargic, lack of appetite, feels like garbage. Eats liver occasionally.

9. Josh Whitinger (WCT)

Has been carnivore for 8 months at the time of the post with regular liver consumption. Was eating liver “raw every other day” plus organ supplements. During that time felt “like I was missing something and my digestion was a mess”. He felt no change in autoimmune condition, or it probably worsened. (comments section)

10. Shadow Thundercloud (WCT)

Eating liver from 1991 to 2018, eats liver once a week. Developed sleeplessness, cold extremities, irritability, then added rice potatoes, fruit, and honey and feels better.

11. Paola Dziwetzki

I developed ascites (water retention in my abdomen), crushing fatigue, water accumulation in my ankles, difficulty thinking or focusing, blurry vision, double vision, bloating, constipation, watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, dry skin, red blotches on my skin, menorrhea (my period stopped for one month), joint pain, sensation of acid in my body, physical weakness, hair loss, coarse hair, and a million other symptoms, see my interview with Judy Cho:

12. RC (PC)

Has been dealing with IBS-C (irritable bowel syndrome with constipation), nail dystrophy, hair loss, dry skin, dry eyes, low free testosterone, abdominal obesity since going carnivore. In the comments section lists chicken liver as part of his diet. Ironically, he admits that he is aware that he eats boatloads of retinol, maybe even too much.

13. MV (PC)

Has experienced anxiety, bad mood, lack of energy, bad sleep, lethargy, joint pain, trouble when working out, and hated being around people. All this has improved since she stopped eating liver. (comments)

MV recently posted an update. In spite of her prior negative experience with liver, she developed strange cravings for it and went back to eating liver and kidneys. First, things seemed to be ok, but then she steadily noticed a worsening of symptoms: joint and bone pain, extreme fatigue, itchy skin, massive hair loss, easy bleeding, bleeding gums. A vitamin C test showed undetectable levels. She started supplementing with vitamin C and things are slowly improving. She also says that she is done with organs for good. Also mentions that her hair color developed an orange tint, although she never colored it which makes here suspect that she is loaded with copper.

14. MCP (PC)

Cholesterol went to 630, has high liver numbers, IBS is coming back, has chronic migraines, is eating liver once a month, had to add plant foods for some things to improve.

15. KK (TLD)

Has been on the lion diet including beef liver supplements for 21 months without cheating, not even once. Lately, has been getting worse and worse, including a hospitalization, was suffering from excruciating leg pain but also in heart, lungs, and during breathing, has been diagnosed with scurvy.

16. Beverly Mandell Spooner (WCT)

Developed bleeding, receding, and painful gums since starting carnivore [which is a typical sign of scurvy – Paola]. In the comments she admits to eating liver and is thinking to increase her liver consumption to add more vit C. [In reality, it is likely the excessive amounts of vit A and copper in liver that cause the degradation of vit C and so scurvy – Paola]

“I love my steaks rare! And that is exactly how I cook my liver when I have it. But I’m probably not eating it enough. I’ll have to increase. Thanks so much!”

17. EET (TLD)

Has been on the lion diet for 8 weeks and is reporting massive hair loss. Is eating a lot of liver, she says.

18. Robin Jones (WCT)

Reports severe hair loss, fine hair that breaks easily.

Her past posts show her gorging on cod liver:

19. RNAN (PC)

Says he hasn’t been well for over 2 months, with symptoms getting worse and worse, such as diarrhea, vomiting. When looking at his older posts, he seems to have gorged on liver. There are liver dishes on top of more liver and other organs. The man seems to have engaged in an organ eating orgy. Yet, when it has bee pointed out to him that the liver may be at fault, he either ignores it or laughed at my suggestion. The man experiences typical vitamin A and copper toxicity symptoms.

20. David Shim (TLD)

DS has been on the carnivore diet for around 6 months to treat Crohn’s disease. The first few months on the Lion Diet without organs and he felt fantastic, superhuman, although was still having digestive issues. He then switched to the PKD diet which included ample consumption of beef liver several times a week. A few months into it, he started experiencing fatigue after eating, feeling like a zombie, hair loss, cramps, and sleeping problems. He has since stopped eating liver and some of his symptoms have improved.

21. Anonymous member (TLD)

At first was seeing great progress with eczema clearing up and reduced gas or bloating, felt amazing. By week two, seems to be reacting to everything, eczema flares on hands, seems to be gaining weight (although overweight), some depressive symptoms and lethargy, diarrhea getting worse. Admits to having taken organ supplements, but stopped since felt like needed a nap 2 hours later and felt exhausted.

22. SF (TLD)
Says was feeling better and stronger with each day. Then one day came home after exercising, cooked up some liver and kidney for breakfast. 2 h later was in absolute agony, another 2 h was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis.

23. Anonymous member (TLD)
Is devastated after coming back from a doctor’s checkup: instead of seeing Hashimoto’s get better, is now hypothyroid, autoimmune kidney disease that was reversed previously, has come back with a vengence, folate is dangerously low to the point that pregnancy could result in a birth defect. Admits to having incorporated chicken liver in the diet for the folate once or twice a week.

24. HS (TLD)

Is asking about tiredness and migraines and histamine imbalances after eating liver.

25. HA (TLD)

On day 30 of the Lion Diet and is feeling discouraged since there is no improvement in full body pain, severe fatigue, belly pain, nausea, and overall just feeling awful. Both have gotten worse. Admits to having taken liver capsules shortly before the Lion Diet.

26. Beata Posala Drazek (MMC)

Experienced weight gain, histamine overload, insomnia from hell, intense heartburn, nails separating into layers, hair loss, constipation causing bowel prolapse, eyesight weakening, bleeding gums, constant fatigue, high cholesterol, decreased thyroid function and high thyroid antibodies, constant, intense hunger, high blood sugar. All this has escalated after adding liver to the diet, although she doesn’t seem to be quite aware of it and blames the carnivore diet in general.

27. Tori Nance (WCT)

Complains about hair getting progressively thinner and not growing since going carnivore. Says she got 1/2 to 1 oz of liver back in her diet.

In past posts she also complains about extreme cold sensations, constipation, fatigue, increased food reactions, horrible reflux, vertigo, and bloating.

28. Debbie Neville (WCT)

Is begging for help, says she has been carnivore for 6 months and is in very bad shape, arthritis and inflammation has skyrocketed, whole body, every joint is in pain and she can barely move some days, fibromyalgia pain is worse at 7-8 out of 10, hair is falling out in clumps, is bruising, gums hurt, is not sleeping, is in a fog, just feels so sick and unwell like she should be in hospital, cholesterol sky high. Says she is taking beef organ supplements.

29. Judy Crowley (WCT)

Has been having continuing hair loss on the carnivore diet. Admits to occasionally use liver pills.

I can’t find her original post in the WCT, so am linking to my twitter wall, where I reposted her comments:

30. MG (TLD)

Has tested low for vitamin C levels. In the comments she admits to eating “creamy and yummy super fresh” goat liver from animals that she raises and processes herself. Is suffering from migraines and vitamin C deficiency symptoms, although she doesn’t specify which ones, swollen tummy, painful joints, and chronic congestion.

31. UnModded_Human, (X)

Following a carnivore and organ meats diet exacerbated a lot of the symptoms he already had like chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivity, brain fog, worsening vision, irritability, tongue and lip reddening and swelling. It also added new symptoms like sound sensitivity (I had that, too), eye discharge, toes turning purple, feeling cold.

He also says “Lyme, mold and SIBO. Was it all just liver toxicity?”, insinuating that those were things he either suspected of having or was diagnosed with.

32. Sea Bird, @SeaMountainBird, (X)

Has been on the carnivore diet for 7 1/2 weeks and has gained weight (although wants to loose 22 lbs) and has been “rather constipated”. Admits to taking desiccated liver and organ supplements a few times a week.

33. Rhoda Byler (WCT)

Was taking organ supplements with liver, started having acne flare ups, period cramps, and “didn’t feel good like I did the first couple years on carnivore”. Those symptoms developed slowly over time, and if it hadn’t been for watching one of Judy Cho’s videos where she mentioned the dangers of eating liver, she would have never put two and two together. The “organ supplements were not suspect to me”, she says. (comments section)

34. GL (TLD)

After 3 months on the Lion Diet without cheating, he didn’t experience any improvement on his autoimmune thyroid problem, it even got worse on exams. TSH went from 1.4 to 5, T4 from 10.4 to 9.5 and T3 from 2.65 to 2.25, although MAK antibodies have come down from 550 to 350. Has been experiencing worse brain fog, urticaria (a red rash), and sleeping problems. He says he doesn’t get enough energy from the diet. Admits that he was eating liver twice per week.

35. Anonymous, (private message)

A man went on the carnivore diet, but got worse and so abandoned it. During the carnivore phase he was eating some liver and taking organ supplements (Ancestral Supplements). By the 3rd week he was having bad electrolyte imbalance, heart palpitations, was having heartburn.

This is taken from a private conversation I had with him via messenger. I shared screenshots with his permission on X:

36. Anonymous, (private message)

Man went on the carnivore diet, saw initial improvements, then declining health in the form of lack of motivation, difficulty focusing on hard tasks, feeling physically and mentally weak and a flare of seasonal allergies. He kept eating around 2 lbs of chicken liver per month (His liver consumption is not included on the screenshots I posted on X, but is contained in our conversation)

37. Emily, (Substack)

Not a carnivore case, but from the Ray Peat and WAPF  (Weston A Price Foundation) camp which advocate for heavy liver consumption, but which included a phase of around 6 months at essentially zero fiber. Emily says in that time she was eating tons of cod liver oil and liver from animals they butchered. As a result, she lost weight, “looked dead in the eyes”, got little bumps all over her body, like keratosis pilaris, started getting dizzy and tired all the time, her mood was horrible, and said “I truly felt like I was going to die, a sense of impending doom”. Her period stopped, she felt super hungry all the time, and “like death”. After switching the focus from animal vit A sources (liver) to more plant based ones on the Ray Peat protocol, the health decline continued, acne came back, she “started getting weirdly hairy”, hair started falling out in clumps. Eventually she even became so desperate that she attempted to end it all (can’t use the S word here). The use of topical retinoic acid creams and brith control pills likely contributed to her health issues prior to her liver eating phase. Read her substack article here:

38. MK (TLD)

Complains of skin getting drier and drier on the lion diet. In the comments section she says she’s been eating small bites of liver once every 2 weeks for a month or two.

39. f_j_b_07 (X and Instagram)

Eating liver also appears to negatively impact our furry friends. Someone left a comment on my Instagram page recounting how her dog’s hair turned copper colour and started shedding hair like crazy with liver consumption.

40. Dr. Steve Goedekke (X)

Steve allowed me to share publicly what he wrote in a private message to me: He has been dealing with a whole list of health issues for a long time, but some of them definitely got worse while he was eating liver: eczema on his hands. insomnia, and anxiety. He has since been following a low vit A diet and most of the symptoms have either gone away or are greatly improved.

41. Rachel Maria (WCT)

Says has been a carnivore for 6 years and has “severe hair loss”. She says she takes liver in capsules. (comments section)

42. Melissa Fortheringham (WCT)

After 8 months on the carnivore diet, she says her hair has been falling out in handfull and has become “so dry”, “like straw”. Neither iodine, B12, nor biotin help. She says she eats 4 ounces of liver twice a week.

43. MBR (TLD)

A woman says she desperately needs help, has been on the carni/lion diet for just over 1 year with zero cheats in that time. Thanks to the carni diet she has healed from diabetes and high blood pressure. But, she has experienced a number of other health problems, the most troubling is extreme chronic constipation, dry clay like. She says it feels acidic and sharp, like glass pieces [I had the same, it turned out to be copper most likely – Paola]. She also started feeling tired, down and developed endometrial pain, and possibly gut/pelvic and abdominal pain. She had to be hospitalized at some point, it seems due to extreme constipation, although it’s not quite clear. Skin and lips are extremely dry, heart palpitations every night, and insomnia. Basically, she displays classic vit A and copper toxicity symptoms. When asked, she says that she east both liver and kidneys at least once a week.

44. Brittany Lauren (WCT)

During her first carnivore phase of 30 days, Brittany felt great. During her second one, which lasted 60 days, her mood was bad, she felt sluggish, she had no motivation or energy, experienced brain fog, and no fat loss. She has since incorporated Dr. Saladino’s suggestions of berries, diary and organs and saw only minor improvements in her well-being. She says her body doesn’t feel good and she doesn’t know what to do. She says she has been eating 4 oz of organs (mix of liver, heart, kidneys) almost every day for breakfast. (It sounds like she could have been eating organs already before, but increased them after reading Dr. Saladino’s suggestions, although it’s not entirely clear whether this is the case)

45. Frequent-Device4942 (Reddit)

Man has been supplementing with vitamin A, vitamin D and eating liver and as a consequent developed “every hypercalcemia symptom, as well as fatigue, edema, loss of appetite and more.“ (Those are EXACTLY the same symptoms I developed after eating liver and I never supplemented with vit A or D or any multi-vitamins.)

All of those things: vit A, vit D, excess amounts of copper in the liver are known to cause calcifications. The symptoms he describes are also typical for liver injury.

46. Several posters on X

I asked on my X wall if anyone has experienced negative side effects from eating liver and got a few responses to the effect. In general, I find that X is not a good platform for this kind of reports due to its character limit. So, people do not go into details and it’s hard to tell what they are really saying. In spite of this, I will include some of them here:

@GoodTexture mentioned that he had bad skin reactions from liver pills.

@siobhan_huggins said that a daily intake of ca. 75 g of liver caused her nausea, vomiting, physical illness, and a strong aversion over a course of around two weeks.

@AkadiaHostel: “eating a can of cod liver gave me a pressure headache that felt like my head was about to explode it lasted about three weeks, tried it again a year later because I don’t learn from my lessons and had a similar reaction”

@TheMattSeaton said he had elevated bilirubin and slight jaundice in eyes.

47. SH (DET)

A man has been on the carnivore diet for some time and says it’s working and that he is doing the best he has in years. This was February 2023. In that post he also mentioned the regular supplementation with beef liver capsules every morning. Then, in a post he made several months later he complains about gallbladder and liver problems where “everything got a lot worse” and that he had to take some steps backwards, and it appears he is not on the carnivore diet anymore.

48. JW (DET)

Day 24 on the carnivore diet and he feels terrible and much much worse than before the diet. He complains of exhaustion, depression, dizziness after standing up, brain is not working, feels worse after eating, developed intolerance to medications (melatonin and doxylamine). He says that he has been adding a little organs (liver, tongue, heart) to his food. [Melatonin is a copper chelator. Beef liver is very high in copper. His symptoms are typical copper toxicity symptoms. This likely explains why he developed a sensitivity to the medication.]

49. Anonymous member (TLD)

This member says he developed fatty liver, hair loss, and tummy issues as well as low T3 thyroid on the Lion Diet. He says he has been supplementing with organs.

50. AJ (CDSS)
Her son has been on the carnivore diet for 2 weeks, first week was great but then he developed multiple diarrhea per day, nausea at night and can’t gain weight. She says he’s been eating chicken liver twice a week.

51. CL (TLD)

Says her hair has been coming out in gobs since she has been on the carnivore diet for the past 5 months. She says she has been having chicken liver at least once every other week.

52. A member of the Vitamin A Toxicity group on FB

Says that since he has been taking beef liver, he started feeling like crap, felt off and like he had a sun burn, and felt poisoned.

53. JI (DET)

Has been eating meat and organs for 3 months. Complains of feeling terrible after work out, needs a lot to recover, and in general feels very tired after physical activity, even after sleeping.

54. DG (PC)

Is complaining about har loss and hair thinning since he’s been a strict carnivore for almost 2 years. In the comments he admits to eating liver almost every day.

55. JB (PC)

Says she needs serious help with hair loss. In the comments she says that she fixed her iron levels with “lots of liver”.

56. LM (TLD)

Has been encountering alarming hair loss. In the comments she mentions that she is currently out of her liver, suggesting that she has been either regularly eating or supplementing with liver.

57. DDJ (TLD)

Has seen large amounts of hair coming out at a time, shedding all over his clothes and the pillow, sometimes he gets a hand full when he runs his hands through his hair. He has been carnivore for around 5 months. In the comments he east liver about 2 times a week and it makes him feel great.

58. Katie Greer (WCT)

Was hoping that the carnivore diet would fix her hormone problems, but after 9 months into the diet, they instead  seem to have gotten worse. Her cycle is now 40 to 50 days long with cramping and nausea. She says she eats “plenty of raw beef liver and heart”.

(I think from now on, I will link mostly to my reposts on X, instead of the original post, since sometimes people delete them.)

59. Beth Resnik Folk (WCT)

15 months ago, Beth tried the carnivore diet for 9 weeks. During that time she experienced “a full MCAS [Mast Cell Activation Syndrome] flare–cramping, diarrhea, lots of hives”. Since then, she has been reacting to almost everything: foods, medications, or supplements. Before, she could eat almost anything without problems. Was she eating liver during those 9 weeks of carnivory? Yes, chicken liver and Paul Saladino’s organ supplements.

Original post (see comments section):

My repost:

60. Amanda Frey (WCT)

Says the carnivore diet had a terrible effect on her and made her stop the diet. She encouraged people to message her for more info, which I did, where she admitted that she was both eating liver as well as taking liver supplements. (comments)

61. Chelsea Cooper (WCT)

Is 9 days into the carnivore diet, complains of extreme dryness in her mouth. It makes it difficult for her to sleep and swallow. She admits to taking liver supplements.

62. DA (PC)

Has been eating chicken liver for 3 to 5 years, adds some to dinner twice a week. Has been 12 months carnivore, but recently started adding some plant foods. Has been experiencing gas after a meal, cramps, sometimes explosive diarrhea, canker sores every few months, dusty skin on legs and feet, histamine intolerance, inadequate energy levels, feels “zonked out” occasionally, has lots of white sun spots on the skin, red veins in the sclera of the eyes [I assume he means – Paola]. Some of the things started before he went carnivore but failed to improve.

63. Paul N Jane Arnold (WCT)

Jane has been on the carnivore diet for almost 5.5 weeks, in that time has been experiencing worsening joint pain and stiffness that wakes her up with restlessness and achiness during the night. She admits to eating “some organs, not regularly” including chicken liver.

64. MH (TLD)

It seems she had different through phases of carnivory or Lion Diet. In her recent post she says she has been 22 on the carnivore diet, the last 5 days on the full lion diet and that it was harder than before and that she felt like crap most of the 22 days. [Interesting fact: She has been eating high vit A foods like butter and eggs during most of the 22 days. Once she cut those out, she saw an improvement. Is this due to both vit A overload and / or copper mobilization of copper from the ingestion of vit A? – Paola]. She also mentions that to her amazement, she hasn’t lost any weight this whole time, although she’d like to lose 10 lbs, but it’s shocking her every week that she’s still the same every week. Her other (still ongoing, as it sounds?) problems are “cognitive and energy/vitality related”. When asked whether she eats organs, she says that she had some liver the day before and that she also takes desiccated liver pills “some days”, although she has cut way back on the liver. [Meaning, she used to eat much more liver in the past. – Paola]

In her past she complained about bad histamine reactions, fatigue, drowsiness, brain fog along with tingling in her lips, itching in her throat, and ears and gum pain.

Here she reports about more histamine issues, next to a picture with beef kidneys. Itchiness in throat, ears, some fatigue, stomach upset, weakness, brain fog, and hair loss. She mentions eating 1 oz of beef liver most days and plans on adding the beef kidneys.

Here again feeling like crap, weak, low energy, poor focus and concentration, also some depression (all typical vit A or copper toxicity symptoms):

65. SK (KAF)

Says she ate liver two days in a row and now she says it feels like it wrecked her progress: diarrhea, nausea, gagging at the thought of eating fat, all things that she had successfully gotten past. (comments)

66. KKW (Carnivore Nation, CN)

Says husband has been strict carnivore by eating beef, salt, and organs for 2 years. He then had an unexplained fainting spell, they went to the ER and his kidneys were found to be failing.

67. KLST (CN)

Has been on the carnivore diet for 5 months and has started losing lots of hair. In the comments, she mentions that she has been eating 8 eggs per day, butter, and — liver.

68. Anonymous participant (WCT)

Has been carnivore for nearly three months. In spite of seeing improvements in health, had to deal with night cramps (resolved with magnesium), his nails have become the weakest they have ever been. In the comments, he/she mentions rare liver or liver supplement consumption, but seemingly regular Haggis consumption. [Haggis is a Scottish dish that includes organ meats – Paola]

69. Jim Pullen (WCT)

Both Jim and his wife have been full carnivore for a couple of months and have been feeling fantastic. Recently, they have been feeling groggy and as if struggling with a sore chest/mucus. In the comments, Jim says they prepare kidneys or liver once a week as part of a brisket, which lasts them for a few days.

70. DW (CN)

Complains about bleeding gums [typical sign of scurvy – Paola] on the carnivore diet. In the comments he says he takes some liver, although it makes him feel sick when he eats it. Nevertheless he ordered some more beef ox liver, he said.

71. BO (CN)

After 4 months of carnivory, he suddenly had some bleeding gums [typical sign of scurvy – Paola]. In the comments he says he eats raw liver.

72. RGR (CN)

Complains of teeth issues – a bit of rot and sore gums. Eats offal [=organs] a couple times a week.

[Sore gums are a typical sign of scurvy – Paola]

73. GGB (CN)

Is asking what to do for hair loss, so it’s assumed he has been experiencing it himself. In the comments he mentions he supplements with some organ pills that include liver, spleen, heart, and kidneys. He also takes vit D, astaxanthin and spirulina [they are very high in vit A – Paola].

74. DN (CN)

Complains of “anxious feeling” after eating some liver.

75. NM (CN)

Noticed histamine reactions to organ meats like beef liver and heart. The same with liver capsules. They trigger migraines, joint aches, fatigue, anxiety, and more.

Interestingly, a few months prior, the same person posted how she needs to add chicken liver and chicken hearts to her diet, otherwise her energy starts to suffer. So, it appears that her reaction to organs was first positive and then negative, which matches the fact that vit A and copper (which liver is very high in) accumulate in one’s own liver. One’s the storage space is maxed out, the reaction turns from positive to negative.

76. LD (CN)

He has been on the carnivore diet for 4 weeks and started experiencing a whole collection of troubling symptoms:

– Hair loss (rapid)

– Freezing cold all day, everyday.

– Painful scalp

– Diminished Intellectual performance

– Impaired behaviour (Big Depression)

– Have lost a lot of weight, pretty fast over a short period

– Urinating very, very often

– Increased HR variability.

– Constipation

– Tired all the time

– Weakness

– Joint pain / in fingers, knees and hips

– Loss of sex drive

– Abdominal swelling & sometimes pain

– Drink tumps of water (3-5L) because of thirst

– Shortness of breath

[Those are all textbook vitamin A and copper toxicity symptoms. I had every single one of those symptoms, too. – Paola]

In an update to the post he discloses that “ox and lamb liver, ox kidney” are his staples.

77. NA (CN)

Has been carnivore for two months, the last 3 weeks has been feeling tired and low. What does she eat? Meat and organs.

78. EW (CN)

Has been on the carnivore diet for 4 weeks. Since 3rd week complains of foggy mind, constipation, headache in the evenings, sleepy head in the morning, eyes covered with fog, bags under eyes, feeling tired, bloated. Is asking for help and advice, seems desperate. She says she included beef liver once a week in the 2nd and 3rd week and continued with it in the 4th week.

79. SP (CN)

Has started carnivore diet 6 weeks ago but says she needs some help since instead of feeling great, she is feeling pretty rubbish. She has been feeling deprived and depressed, has constant diarrhea, bloating hasn’t improved, feels incredibly tired all the time, has put on weight (it seems this wasn’t desired), skin is sagging and looks older and waxy. Says it’s a struggle to keep to the diet. Has she been eating liver since going carnivore? Yes, every day. She makes 500 g of liver into a pate and eats a little bit of it every day. She also takes a multivitamin (which likely contains vit A and copper).

80. JB (CN)

Tried the carnivore during the previous summer, saw great improvements, was feeling great, back pain and constant inflammation resolved. Then one day during a hike, blacked out and fell to his knees. Instead of calling to be life flighted out of the Grand Canyon, he ate some carbs and it restored him to the point that he was able to hike for another 6 hours again. This scared him away from the carnivore diet. He asks for advice what this could have been due to. In the comments, he mentions that during that carnivore phase he was eating fatty meats, organ meats, and eggs. [Organ meats are very high in vit A. Did he accumulate a lot of vit A from eating the organ meats which caused a poisoning in his liver? Carbs increase insulin, which causes a vitamin A release. Did this restore his health again? The release of some built-up vit A after eating carbs? – Paola]

81. MS (CN)

Started carnivore diet mid June 2020. From the start he has been eating plenty of organs including liver and kidneys. After a week has been complaining of extreme fatigue and fluctuating energy levels. At the same time, dandruff has “magically disappeared”. Two more weeks after that, says has been eating eggs and liver for breakfast cooked in ghee, and more organs on top of that. Although he has seen an improvement in workouts, he is experiencing fatigue at the same time, elevated heart rate, feeling tired throughout the day, and it’s hard for him to stay up, has been clearly struggling.

82. KW (CN)

Is complaining about suffering from “Insomnia AS FUCK”. What does she eat? Grass fed organs like heart and liver.

83. JP (PC)

After starting to eat liver, his vitamin C and D levels were below the reference range. He tried the Paul Saladino diet and  developed brain fog, fatigue, was feeling off, and was sleeping poorly. His iron was also low, although he was eating 2 to 3 pounds of meat a day. He has since ditched the organs and is now eating only whole eggs and meat. (comments)

Picture credit:

Raw liver on a white plate on a wooden background. Beef liver. Offal in its raw form

Stock Photo ID: 447463909

Copyright: Marika Kosheleva


Reports of Adverse Reactions after the Ingestion of Desiccated Liver Pills (Amazon Reviews)

Reports of Adverse Reactions after the Ingestion of Desiccated Liver Pills (Amazon Reviews)

Reports of Adverse Reactions after the Ingestion of Desiccated Liver Pills (Amazon Reviews)

Desiccated liver pills

Here is a compilation of people who had experienced adverse reactions after ingesting desiccated liver pills. All reports have been taking from one or two-star reviews of liver pills by different brands. Their only ingredient is desiccated beef liver. One product also contained other organs like beef heart, kidney, and pancreas. None of them contained any fillers.

This is not a complete list. There are many more reports of adverse reactions on amazon. If I had chosen to reprint them all, the collection would have been easily twice as long.

Many of the reports have been paraphrased by me, if the original text was too long. To read the whole testimonial on amazon, click on the added link underneath each review. Direct quotations from the original testimonials are in quotation marks. I have added some comments of mine and put them in square brackets [ ] and marked them with my name.

This list has been originally posted in the Muscle Meat Carnivore Facebook Group and may be also updated there.

Reports of adverse reaction after the ingestion of desiccated liver pills, taken from


1. B. Murphy

Worked up to 5 pills (recommended dosage are 6 per day). The morning after, experienced a sour stomach, headaches, threw up twice. “This stuff messed me up good and kept me in bed that whole day – if I got up, I became nauseous.”

2. Kerri Patton

Bought the liver pills to treat fatigue. Took half a dose in the a.m., half in the p.m. Result: “A terrible headache, nausea, dizziness, terrible joint pain (much more than the usual), and unbelievable fatigue came seemingly out of nowhere. Cognitively, I felt exceedingly slow – as if my brain was shutting down. It was borderline surreal.” Not being convinced that it was really the pills that caused the reaction, she gave them another try by ingesting 3 more the morning after the bad reaction. Result: “Not long after I swallowed, however, the same awful symptoms I had experienced the day prior reared their ugly heads. The headache I thought had been waning waxed, I felt fatigued, my brain felt foggy, and oddly enough, I had trouble stringing together sentences and remembering certain words (super weird).”

3. Bianca

Bought the liver pills to treat Hashimoto’s. After taking just 2 pills (recommended dosage are 6 per day), she felt miserable: “I felt so dizzy it gave me anxiety”. She brushed it off though and took another pill on day 3. 10 minutes later she had her first panic attack ever. “I felt this awful rush in my body and my heart rate went up to 120bpm while I was sitting. I felt so terrified and had no idea what to do. I tried to eat something and go for a walk but it took me about 12 hours for my heart rate to go back to normal and about 2 days to finally stop feeling insane.”

4. yasmin

“After 15 days of taking this I ended up in the emergency room and was admitted in intensive care unit for another 3 days.” Immediate reactions after the first time she ingested the pills she had stomach pain for an hour, then lowered the number of pills down to 2 pills, but stomach ache continued. She nevertheless continued with the pills. On day 15 in the morning she had dark water stools every 10 minutes. By noon she started throwing up black blood. She says she nearly bled to death from an ulcer. “I passed out from the loss of blood and was taken to the ER by ambulance.” She was diagnosed with an ulcer, inflamed stomach lining and she tested positive for h. pylori with gastritis.

5. Amazon user

After taking just one capsule per day, on the first night she got a really bad rash on her belly that spread to the rest of her body, “followed by feeling fatigued all day and insomnia.”

6. Noelle

After taking less than the recommended dosage, he first felt great, but then he felt inflammation in his body and he felt uncomfortable and he experienced nausea. ”Like a big flush that is my indication of inflammation and I also had a headache. Then it interfered with my sleep and mood A LOT.”

7. MKW

“In may case, only 3 capsules caused Vitamin A toxicity after around 2 weeks. For me this meant my oily skin was suddenly extremely dry and leathery, and I had severe (and frightening) mood changes, profound drowsiness, irritability and confusion – all of which is very unlike me.” This was going on for over a week, until he figured out what was going on. Once he did, he didn’t completely stop them, and still takes one pill per day, because it helps him with sleep.

8. T

“I only took one pill, thank GOD!!!!!! There was dizziness, a sinking feeling when I laid down to try to sleep. I was up shivering, and shuddering on and off for 6 hours. I thought I was low on electrolytes so I ate a banana, drank some coconut water, smooth move tea, then took some vitamin D3K2 after I searched some youtube videos on Vitamin A toxicity. I ate some food that has vit E, like salmon and sunflower seeds. I was trying anything to rid this pill from my body. I kept drinking water throughout. FINALLY, I drank some water with fresh squeezed lime juice and that started to calm my body from the shivers. I kept sipping the water and urinating throughout the night to clear my body. God answered my prayers. I am safe! Seriously, I DO NOT recommend these pills!!!!!!”

9. Tracy Wagner

“I took 3 capsules in the morning, instead of the recommended 6, just as a trial, and I had vomiting and diarrhea all night long that night. It was awful.”

10. Cindi

“I got up to 6 pills a day. In the first episode of this, I had no idea there was any connection to these supplements. But this is what happened. I woke up one day with horrible fatigue, combined with a burning time of sensation in my eyes. Blood pressure was way high, headache and abdominal pain. I went to the ER three times and my primary care doctor twice, and urgent care once, all in one week. Nothing could be found wrong with me.” After she stopped eating (and so stopped also the pills), she improved. She then restarted her smoothies (where she used to add the liver pills), and “One again I started feeling weird, same type symptoms. This time I thought back to the time I got so sick and realized I was using these supplements then also. I stopped immediately. Within a few days I was feeling like my old self.”

11. Jessica

“After taking two of these, one a day for two days, I experienced what I can only describe as the Eye of Mordor in my stomach. Literal evil attempting to exit my body! Stomach cramps, bloating, gas and the hershey squirts. Initially I thought maybe it was the pancakes I ate for breakfast (said no one ever). I’ve written an apology letter to my yoga instructor, “I’m sorry I unleashed hell whilst everyone was deep breathing in downward dog, multiple times, I blame the beef liver”. I’ve taken crop dusting to a whole new level.”

12. All Day Mom

After taking only 3 pills every day for 1 week, she experienced 7 lb weight gain and constipation, sleep problems.


Purchased the product after reading rave reviews. Took three caps in the am, three in the pm (equals one dose). Result: “About 5 hours after the PM caps – everything started – nausea, pain, bloating, upset stomach, and gas – gas that is trapped. This was experienced all night – I thought I was gonna die.” He forced himself to work regardless, but felt like he was hit by a truck: “No real pain now – just exhausted feeling – brain fog. Stay away from this stuff!!”

14. Adrienne

After taking just one capsule a day, he started having major stomach cramps. Was able to reproduce this two more times with same effect.

15. Annie

Experienced stomach pain after 3 days, then area near appendix, appetite increased to the point of being insatiable.

16. LM

“I feel like doom as I type this. Anxiety, heart racing, heartburn/sour stomach, stomach pain, digestive discomfort, dizzy, irritable, lack of energy, brain fog, just feel all around sick and weird. I felt off yesterday too, didn’t realize it was from the pill or I would not have taken another today.”


Took just one in the morning, and after 10 hours, still feels sick. Immediately after taking it, had stomach upset, palpitations, felt like was going to pass out. Couldn’t take a nap because of how sick he was, can’t think clearly.

18. Jaymie

Started with the lower dose, “but over the next couple of weeks my skin went from mildly irritated and dry (which I first assumed was just seasonal winter dry skin) to a full blown ITCHY rash as I increased the number of pills each day. Started with a mild itch on legs/calves and slowly traveled to portions of my trunk and the backs of my arms. Am currently one big ITCH.” After discontinuing it, he is still dealing with the “uncomfortable aftermath”.

19. R. Nickell

First trie beef liver 3 years ago and felt “off”. But now wanted to try it again. Took ONE pill in the afternoon. Result: “I started having slight veritigo symptoms and a tad bit of anxiety at dinner. I normally get anxiety when my ferritin is low, so I just pressed through. About an hour after dinner, I felt so sick. Severe dizziness, low blood sugar, and major anxiety. The dizziness was making it worse. I laid down in bed and ended up with insomnia. Every time I got up, I felt like I could fall over from the vertigo.”

20. Megan Blackwelder

“This product make me horribly sick. On day 7 (my first day taking 3 capsules) I developed moderate/severe upper abdominal pain that radiated to my back, constant nausea, which then turned to profuse vomiting and severe muscle and joint pain. Tested for covid, pregnancy, both negative. Was not a stomach bug because no one else was sick in my house hold. I literally felt like I was on my way out of this world.”

21. Carolyn S.

“This stuff made me so sick!!! I was in bed for three days. And I only took it for three days. Before I realized what it was. I had no energy and very sleepy, I quit taking it and i immediately felt better. I thought it was supposed to give you energy? Not wipe you out.”

22. Alex

“I took 1 pill the first day and 2 on the second and I had the worst 3 days of gastrointestinal issues of my life. I had constant urges to go to the bathroom to poop and nothing would come out. Then came the blood. I had to see a doctor and got a x-ray because they had to make sure I didn’t have a blockage. That happened with minimal use of the product. If I had taken the full serving, I would have ended up in the hospital.”

23. Jeffrey Munrayos

Took the recommended 6 pills the first time and after the first day of taking the product, had blood in his stool. Discontinued for a month, tried again with and there was still blood in his stool.

24. GDI

“Started taking one pill in the morning and within a short number of days I had headaches, insomnia and general malaise.”

25. Paigee

“I had to come back and re-do my review. When first taking these, I felt great and was loving the effects! I thought I had found the best thing ever but unfortunately after taking them for a few weeks, I had an adverse reaction and had to go to the doctor to treat a huge rash on the whole right side of my body. I had changed nothing before or after beginning to take them so I knew it wasn’t something I was doing. The only difference was these pills (also, I was only taking 4 a day not the 6 a day recommended) As soon as I stopped taking them, the rash cleared up within a week. Wish they didn’t give me these results because I did feel really great on them.”

26. Irina

Got the worst allergic reaction from this product. “I started the 1st day with 3 capsules, even though on the bottle it says 6. Next day walk up with a rash. Didn’t really link it to this supplement and took 3 more. Next day walk up with my face swollen and realized that it must be these pills. Today is my 5th day and my face looks worse than before, barely can open my eyes and on top of that last night when I got up to go to the bathroom I almost passed out. I have never experienced anything like this!”

27. Chloe

“I am not allergic to anything. I’ve never responded badly to any supplement or food in my life. I took 2 of these and shortly thereafter got terrible diarrhea and a very scary rash on my stomach.” “i have never had anything like this happen to me. ”

28. Kim Koons

“they made me so sick yo my stomach gave me very bad stomach cramps and explosive diarrhea! i felt horrible when i took them ”

29. Jasmine

“This product ruined my health! Shooting pain in body, numbness, constant trips to bathroom, nausea, heart burn, brain fog, throbing pain in left arm. Long list of adverse reactions, somthing real shady going on.”

30. Sue

“Just like the last brand I used, now this one has changed as well & no longer works!! This recent bottle I got in June is completely different snell, color & texture. “Conicidentally” with in a few weeks of starting this new bottle, my hair is falling out rapidly, I’m extremely depressed & I’m extremely fatigued. I don’t think it’s a coincidence, I will need to find a new brand now!!!”

31. Tir51

Horrible stomach pain, like a burning sensation and lost the appetite. “These problems appeared after taking the very first capsule. A day later I took another capsule and realized that the problems were from Grass Fed Beef Liver.”

32. Amazon Customer

Experienced swelling around eyes within 2 days. “Swelling worsened over the week, followed by cracked lips. Finally awoke with eyes very swollen and lips swollen. Immediately stopped taking the product and began high doses of antihistamines. Some improvement noted but swelling is beginning to worsen again. On my way to an emergency clinic for treatment.”

33. Mandy

“I took 2 pills. Only 2. And it caused severe Hashimotos auto immune flare up. I also have MTHFR. I had severe tinnitus,irritability,crying,heart palpitations, vertigo,eye lid drooping ,neuropathy numbness got worse,constipation and the list goes on.”

34. Jon Phillips

“After two days of taking this supplement I’m having horrible stomach pain and heart burn that’s I’ve never experienced before.”

35. Nevada

“1 capsule daily for a week, then 2 daily the next week. I began feeling pain on my right side near where the appendix is (I have never had pain on this side of stomach)so I stopped for a few days. I started taking again and the pain came back.”

36. ALC

“Absolutely demolished my stomach. I experienced terrible heartburn, gas, and bloating after taking just one pill daily for three days. It was a miserable experience. The recommended dosage was 6 pills! I can’t fathom how much pain I would be in if I took that many. ”

37. kbg

“I really wish that I was one of the people that had sudden energy and improved mood, etc. However this product made all my problems worse!! I actually experienced decreased energy, daily headaches, break outs on my face, neck and back and an awful body odor.”

38. Glen R. Scott

“This item makes me sick, dizzy and lethargic.”

39. Coifure Mixtress

“I started out taking 3 of the pills instead of the recommended dosage. The second day I continued taking 3 pills and I had a headache that lasted two days. So I stopped taking the product and tried again after contacting the owner who said to take 1 pill then work my way up. Now I have constant itching that cant be from anything but this product. Everytime I take time off and try the product again with just one pill I gain another side effect.”

40. Susan

“After reading reviews, I was hoping for more energy and other health issues to be addressed. Unfortunately, after starting with 1 pill daily for 4 days and then 2 pills daily for 5 days I felt sicker in the last days with major acid reflux and very sharp pain throughout my throat and intestinal track. I quit taking them and after a few days felt normal again.”

41. Cynthia L. Page

“I believe I am having stomach cramps from this product. There are no warnings about starting slow with this, directions say 6 per day. I started with 2 one evening, I had bad cramps about 12 hours later. I didn’t associate with the liver pills, I thought I may have food poisoning, but it didn’t quite seem like that. I took a second dose of two, three days latter, same problem. I took one this am, about 14 hours ago and I am having lower abdominal cramps. It must be these liver pills.”

42. Karen E. Bennett

“No energy after taking, the opposite! I was extremely tired with this product.”

43. Mary Davis

“I took 6 pills day 1 as listed on the bottle and had brain fog, nausea, and migraines for days. I was really excited to feel energized and get back to life but this product set me back $40 and several days of unnecessary pain.”

44. Kelly A. Redman

“I hesitate to say this because I am not sure if this product is what has caused my allergic reaction but wanted to review in case it happens to anyone else. I started with 1 capsule a couple of weeks ago. On day 2 I had a weird rash develop on the back of my thighs. Never imagined it was from this. On day 3 right after I took the one capsule someone asked what I’d done different. What was causing the rash. This is absolutely the only thing new I was using. I stopped and went to urgent care and my dermatologist. It was an awful reaction. Terrible itching where I couldn’t even sleep. The dermatologist finally put me on a strong steroid cream and steroid pills. Took them for a week, and the rash went away. Two days ago, thinking there is no way need beef supplements are giving me a itchy rash, I started with one capsule in the morning. This is day two and I’m itchy again in the very same spot. It doesn’t make any sense at all. I have never before had an allergy to anything at all before this.”

45. Amazon Customer

“I purchased this product in January hoping to reap the nutritional benefits of grass-fed beef liver. I started by only taking 1 capsule per day and eventually went up to two capsules a month or so later. At first, I believe this supplement made me feel great and I noticed my energy had really improved. I never took more than 2 in a day. Now that I’m experiencing symptoms of what my doctor has described as Vitamin A toxicity months later (a feeling of pressure in my head, upper GI pain, bumps on my arms, and cracked lips) it’s hard to understand how the serving size is listed at 6 capsules. These are POTENT and my bloodwork proves it.”

46. csnmum

“I’ve been having a headache since I started taking these.”

47. Kristina

The supplements delayed her cycle by six days, made her gain weight, her body temperature was unusually hot, she started sweating more, and developed “raging teenage forehead and chin acne”. The experience was a nightmare, she says.

48. Kit1234

Experienced diarrhea to the point that he thought he was going to die.

49. Christine G

“I started these, I had an unexplainable extreme fatigue. It constantly felt like I was hit by a truck. My legs felt like jelly and I could barely keep my eyes open. I found it so hard to function throughout the day, forcing myself to get up and do my day-to-day activities.”

50. Elisabeth

Experienced increased mental stress after taking just one capsule for several days.  After increasing the dosage to 2 capsules, her heart rate went to high 70s to low 90s (typically it’s 50s-low 60s). After 3 weeks on the supplements, she ended in the ER with heart palpitations caused by low potassium [copper depletes potassium, beef liver is very high in copper – Paola]. “As soon as I stopped taking these, the symptoms went away and my RHR is back down to normal.”

51. Colton

Experienced extreme gas, “crazy farts”, the next morning had extreme diarrhea and nausea all day, almost felt like food poisoning / flu.

52. hkudra

“I took one pill each day for three days and have never felt so horrible in my life. The first day I took the pill, I started to get a headache and my stomach hurt. (I rarely have stomach problems) The next day I took one pill, I had a headache, my stomach hurt, nausea that wouldn’t go away. The third day I took the pill, I could barely move! My body ached everywhere, nausea, headache and shortness of breath. I strongly warn against this product. It has been two days since I stopped this product and I am feeling so much better. I am so glad I didn’t take four pills as recommended. I’d probably be in the hospital.”

53. Hola

Has been taking the product in single and double quantities and “it’s been fantastic” and took the recommended dose with zero issues. “It’s energizing and overall a great product. This time around, however, I opted to go for it and purchase the three pack. Wow. After taking the recommended dose on day one, it caused an alarming wave of nausea that kept me in bed for over 48 hours. I don’t know what happened this time around but it was kind of scary.” [Did it take some time for the copper and vit A to build up to toxic levels? How many others who left raving 5 star reviews experienced the same but never cared to amend their reviews once the product “switched” on them? – Paola]

54. Sue

Similar case as the previous one: the capsules don’t seem to work anymore: “I’ve been using these for years. They worked well up until this last bottle. They stink way worse now, they’re a much darker color, suddenly give me heartburn & pain, and my ferritin plummeted suddenly. These are NOT the same anymore, They are worthless now. I’m switching to another brand. Goodbye “Perfect” after 4 years of purchasing this product. It’s crap now!” [Did the product change or did she simply built up copper and vit A to toxic levels? – Paola]

55. Dee

“Gave me extreme fatigue and pain, also gave irregular periods.”

56. Winifred C.

Saw his ferritin fall by 20 points over the course of the months he’s been taking them. [Which is interesting, since many people take liver to improve iron or other minerals or vitamins. Yet, there are many accounts that show that certain markers DECREASED since the consumption of liver products, including ferritin. – Paola]

57. Colorado

Experienced migraines and nausea, got “terrible sick the first time, but thought it was a coincidence.” Tried again two weeks later with the same, awful “sick reaction”, kept him in bed for 2 days.

58. Ariel Hamilton

Was puking her guts out “all night long”,  even with some bleeding. This happened after taking just 1 pill, although on the bottle it says to take 4.

59. Jennifer Bayouth

“I had a dangerous response to this and ended up in the ER with stroke level high bp, seizures, drop in body temperature, and tachycardia.”

60. Amazon Customer

Experienced extreme nausea and fatigue after just 2.5 weeks.

61. Youthful

Experienced bleeding and sore gums, and severe reflux that made it difficult to sleep.


  1. Emily F

Yet another account of a person seeing their blood markers get worse, instead of better after the supplementation with beef liver. “I have really low b12 and iron and I was hoping this would help both of those things – have gone through two bottles before getting my blood tested again , to only find that my b12 and iron DROPPED!”

63. Sam

Started as directed, 1 a day for 3 days, after an initial slight improvement in mood and energy, he felt a little nauseous and wanted to lay in bed. On day 3, his skin started peeling, he was still taking just 1 pill. Later, his back started peeling as well. At that point decided to stop taking the pills, but continued to feel nauseous, dizzy, and “off” like something was wrong, awful heartburn, can’t sleep, feels very sick, is having thoughts that he is going to die.

64. Amazon Customer

Another case of first seeing an improvement, then worsening in symptoms, and blaming a different product: She started taking beef liver while pregnant “to increase nutrients for baby”. Was very pleased with other beef liver brands and saw her nails grow like “so fast and strong”, and her skin was glowing and she had the most energy. After starting with this brand, all her nails are broken, her energy is low and her skin is “very broke out”. [Is it the brand or the fact that she simply built up copper and vit A to toxic levels? – Paola]

65. Debbie Alger

Has been taking the pills for a bit more than 2 months. In that time, her hair started falling out, muscles were cramping [typical sign of electrolyte depletion – Paola], and she gets more tired every day. Her blood work indicated her liver enzymes are elevated [copper and vit A is deposited in the liver and can damage the liver – Paola].

66. Tyler Waldrop

Just two pills caused a bad headache and made him feel “really terrible”. Tried again a few days later with the same result.

67. Gi

“Bad reaction!! Started taking these on and off one month ago. Only took one a day and in total only took 7 pills throughout the month. Caused digestive issues, hot flashes and had a really bad reaction on my mouth. Lips and inside of my mouth were raw/burning sensation that landed me in the doctors office.”

68. A B NOYB

Had a very bad reaction to just two capsules, they made him tired and he felt nauseous.

69. Mary

Gave her more energy and stamina, but the longer she was taking them, the worse her insomnia became. After she stopped them, sleep went back to normal.

70. Linds

After only just two capsules, made him feel incredibly weak and nauseous, gave him “the worst stomach ache”, cramping and vomiting.

71. L. L. Scott

Tried the pills for two weeks and got “severely ill”: noticed increased digestive issues, severe stomach cramps and pain, then started itching the longer he was consuming them [itching can be a sign of cholestasis, a type of liver damage due to impaired bile flow – Paola].

72. S.A.G.

“I took one a day for three days and had such a terrible reaction to these. It took several days to get my body to stop itching. I have never had a reaction like that before to anything. My body was acting as if I had a liver disease.”

73. Mel E

Started taking beef liver supplements to keep iron levels healthy, instead saw the iron levels drop.

74. cheryl

Got a massive headache on two occasions after taking just one pill.

The following reviews are from an organ supplement that contains beef liver, heart, kidneys, pancreas, and spleen in equal amounts. Capsule is made from gelatin.


75. Tahnee Cooke

Started taking the organ supplement to increase iron levels post pregnancy. Was taking 2 to 3 capsules daily, within several days she “became so sick with nausea, cold chills, and a fever. It felt like I had the flu, like my immune system was being attacked.”

76. Amazon Customer

Started taking 1 pill a day, worked up to 3. It took a while to realize that they were making him “feel so awful” and “horrible”. He felt like his body was rejecting the pills. “These literally made me feel really sick and lethargic and I looked really sick, with pale skin and dark under eyes appearing the more and more I took.”

77. N. Fagerhaugh

After just two doses started having “intense migraine pain with rainbow flashing lights”, could hardly walk, had to stay in a darkened apartment all day. The pain was all over the head and behind eyes. “The flashing lights in my vision felt like hallucinations.” [A known symptom of copper toxicity are hallucinations – Paola].

78. Jorge

The product made him very sick, with flu like symptoms, nausea, dizzy chills, and diarrhea.

79. Ray

Experienced constipation after taking just one pill a day and hair loss.

80. Amazon Customer

Experienced swollen throat, got sick within 2 weeks [I assume with cold or flu, it’s not specified – Paola], insomnia, people comment that he/she looks terrible with bags under eyes, energy is “non existent”, but mind races at night [typical copper toxicity symptom – Paola].

81. Smith

Since taking the pills, noticed feeling “extremely anxious” [also typical for both copper and vitamin A toxicity – Paola], unable to handle stress, over reacting and “awful stomach problems”. After stopping the pills it all went away within 3 days.

82. Huda

Ended up bed sick, can’t move from severe stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea.

83. Joe T.

“I take a variety of supplements and I was having a bad reaction to something I was ingesting. I slowly started removing all my supplements never once thinking that it was the ancestral internal organs supplements so to my surprise when I stopped taking this product my stomach issues, anxiety, itching, tingling in my arms and legs, all went away!”

84. oggi

Experienced “migraine sunken eye pain level headache” from 1/2 dose daily. Lost several days [presumably couldn’t work during those? – Paola]

85. JStep

“One pill made me extremely sick with a severe headache and 12 hours of nausea. I do not get headaches so it was very obvious from the one capsule.”

86. M

“This caused severe stomach issues, cramping and itching.” – after just one pill a day [instead of the recommended 6 – Paola]

87. Caren

“It took a while to figure out what is making me feel nauseous and unwell. I followed the instructions and started taking one capsule for three days and then two for three days and then 3… when I got to three capsules a day I started to feel very unwell, started to feel nausea, headache.”

88. Carmen A

“I only took one capsule of each for two weeks when I started to get dizzy and my throat closed badly. I also got flu like symptoms. I am always energetic and strong but for three days I was sleepy and I even told my daughter I thought I was going to faint.”

89. Joseph

After 5 days if made him feel terrible: headache, vertigo, poor focus.

90. John Khalil

“Turned my toilet into a bloodbath. Same for my mother. Ruined my bowel movements for months upon stopping it.”

91. Andrew

“Caused massive headaches and dizziness after first dose.”

92. Melissa P.

Started taking half of the recommended dosage and within 25 to 30 minutes gets really bad headaches, head feels like it’s in a vice and ears have that “whoosh sound”.

93. S.R.

After upping the dose to half the recommended dose (3 pills per day), S.R. started having migraine, body aches, and chills, and continued to get worse. After stopping the pills, the migraine is gone, but is still having severe fatigue, body aches, and chills, “as if I have the flu”. Also experienced chest tightness / pain in the morning to the point that it hurts to drink, feels inflamed.

94. theteets

Has been feeling itchy, feeling “zings” within his body, weird ache near the heart/chest, to the point of feeling scared. The bigger issue is a new sense of exhaustion, “like I have the flu”, feeling “soooo groggy and tired”.

95. Amazon Customer

Tried them twice, each time gave him daily headaches.

96. Happy Northerner

Was feeling miserably ill (cramps, nausea) after taking just one pill. Tried again at 1/4 of a capsule, but still experienced stomach upset.

97. Chadi EL-Khoury

“I really wanted this supplement to deliver, but it wrecked my digestive system. I stopped taking it for a couple of weeks and symptoms subsided, then started it back up and all symptoms returned within one week.”

98. Dasein

At only a fraction of the recommended dosage has experienced “iron overload” [similar to Frank Tufano’s experience – Paola]. “I mysteriously started to feel ill after taking these supplements and lo and behold, it’s becuase my serum iron and saturation were jacked up through the roof.”

99. Nancy S.

This seems to be a textbook example of copper and/or vit A toxicity that took a while to build up, with first positive effects which then turned into the opposite: “I had very good results with the Grass-fed Beef Liver from Ancestral Supplements for several months, using the recommended six capsules per day. My Hemoglobin had been running low for a long time and the “drug store” iron supplements made me very constipated. So, I was very happy with this product. My hemoglobin was greatly improved, and I was able to give blood (I have an uncommon blood type that the Blood Bank loves to get!).

Unfortunately, after several months, I began to have increasingly uncomfortable nausea and diarrhea and tried eliminating various supplements from my diet. When I stopped the beef liver supplement I began to feel better within a few days. I waited several weeks and reintroduced the Beef Liver again at a minimal dose, but immediately started having nausea and diarrhea again. I am sad, because this worked so well for quit awhile;”

100. Teresa

Another textbook example of “first it was great, then a nightmare”: “Believe it or not but after only three days I felt great with little or no brain fog for ten days. I couldn’t believe the difference. I thought I found what I had been searching for the past 5 years at least; I was ecstatic. Then one day, it was like someone flipped a switch and I started feeling bad. I wasn’t going to give up so I purchased another month supply of beef organs and bone&marrow to see if I could get to that feeling “good” stage I had. Well I didn’t get there. I went to a chiropractor who believes in bovine supplements. He explained to me why but with this severe brain fog I can’t remember what he said. He did a nutrition response test. He said there were 5 organs with issues so I have been taking supplements for two of them. Three weeks later, I continue to have severe brain fog, confusion, fatigue and depression.”

Picture credit:

Hulbah pills in wooden spoon, close-up. Hulbah pills help reduce discomfort and menstrual cramps associated with PMS ease menopausal symptoms.

Stock Photo ID: 478391345

Copyright: AB-7272


50 Documented Cases of Poisoning after the Ingestion of Fish, Chicken, and Beef Liver

50 Documented Cases of Poisoning after the Ingestion of Fish, Chicken, and Beef Liver

50 Documented Cases of Poisoning after the Ingestion of Fish, Chicken, and Beef Liver

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People who regularly eat liver as part of the carnivore diet often argue that there is no proof that the ingestion of liver could be dangerous, apart from polar bear livers.

The evidence in the medical literature shows that this is not correct.

There are 50 cases of documented poisonings (most likely due to vitamin A but it could also be due to copper) from different types of livers: fish, chicken, and beef.

There are also several documented cases of hypervitaminosis A from the consumption of shark liver. I decided to leave those out, since they don’t seem to be relevant to most people who pursue a carnivore or ketogenic diet.

I also excluded one documented case of hypervitaminosis A in a boy who was eating chicken livers and was taking vitamin A supplements, since the vitamin A intake from the supplements was considerably higher than the one from the chicken livers.

If I had taken into account those cases as well, the total would have been around 54 known cases.

The below list largely builds but also expands on Dr. Garrett Smith’s post on X:

The list can be also found in the Muscle Meat Carnivore group on Facebook:

List of 50 Documented Cases of Hypervitaminosis A after the Consumption of Various Types of Livers:


Case #1 (FISH LIVER): “A 23-month-old Chinese girl presented to the emergency department with vomiting, irritability, sore eyes and a red, peeling rash on the face. She had consumed four pieces of fish liver the night before. Her grandfather, who also ate the fish liver, had similar symptoms.”

Case #2 (FISH LIVER): “An 11-year-old Chinese boy presented with a 2-day history of abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, a red, peeling rash over his body, blistering on his fingers and tongue and perioral tingling. He and his family had eaten fish livers 8 h prior to the onset of symptoms.”

Case #3 (FISH LIVER): “A 14-year-old Chinese boy presented with a 12-h history of vomiting, severe headache and sore red eyes after ingestion of 8–10 pieces of Polyprion oxygeneios (Hapuka) fish liver. His mother and sibling also had similar symptoms after ingestion of the same fish livers. He was also taking a regular vitamin supplement that contained vitamin A.”

Source of the above 3 cases:

Rebecca M Hayman, Stuart R Dalziel, Acute Vitamin A Toxicity: a Report of Three Paediatric Casese, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health (48), 2012,

Case #4, #5, #6 (FISH LIVER): “In December 2007, three patients (two males 41 and 13 years of age and one woman 39 years of age) of the same family ate the liver and muscle of a large fish (about 20 kg) in Keelung, North Taiwan. Three to 4 hours after ingestion, the symptoms appeared as headache, nausea, vomiting, fever, vertigo, and visual disorientation, followed by peeling of the skin after 1 week. The 41-year-old man suffered serious peeling of the skin that took more than 3 months to heal.”


Deng-Fwu Hwang et al, Species Identification and Vitamin A Level in Lutjanid Fish Implicated in Vitamin A Poisoning, Journal of Food Protection, 1 April 2010, Pages 769-773

Case #7 to #17 (11 patients) (FISH LIVER): “Eleven patients (five men, six women) aged from 15 to 45 years were studied at the medical unit of the General Hospital, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The patients belonged to three different families and were taken ill after a meal that included the liver curry of the fish Istiophorus gladius (sailfish, Sinhala: Talapath). The quantity of the fish eaten was about 113 g (4 oz) each. All patients complained of headache and drowsiness, the headache being severe and constant occurring within five to eight hours of the meal; one patient experienced nausea and five vomiting; blurring of vision and redness of eyes without diplopia was present in six cases; and a superficial peeling dermatitis was noted in nine of the patients in the face, neck, and back of chest”,

“The clinical findings in our patients are comparable to those found after ingesting the liver of polar bear or seal, which also contain large amounts of vitamin A.”


Unknown author, Clinical curio: acute vitamin A toxicity from ingesting fish liver curry, British Medical Journal, volume 287, September 1983

Case #18: (FISH LIVER, Halibut Liver Oil): “(…) a 3 year old boy of Jewish parentage, had appeared well up to the fall of 1938, when he was about 18 months old. At that time his appetite diminished and he seemed to be disinclined to play. Six months later (May 1939) he had a severe attack of tonsillitis, for which he was given sulfanilamide for two days. Two months after this, July 26, 1939, he had a tonsillectomy followed by hemorrhage, after which he received three transfusion. A blood count done after the hemorrhage showed severe anemia and 2,900 white cells per cubic millimeter, of which 44 per cent were neutrophils. The patient’s liver and spleen were found to be enlarged, and clubbing of the fingers was noted. At this time he lost much of his hair, and that which grew back was sparse, dry and coarse.”

”(…) When the patient entered the hospital in March 1940, his hair was sparse, dry and rather coarse, and eyebrows and fine hair over the body was lacking. The fingers and toes were slightly clubbed. He was pale and sallow, but there was no increase in pigmentation and no jaundice and the scleras were clear.”

“Roentgenograms of the chest and skull showed no abnormalities, but those of the limbs revealed considerable irregularity in corticol structure. In the phalanges and metacarpals the cortex was extremely thin and the medullary cavities appears to be “vacuolated.” “

“On questioning the mother, it was learned that beginning at 2 to 3 months of age the child had received a teaspoonful of halibut liver oil a day (about 240,000 U.S.P. units of vitamin A) up to the present time. Moreover, he had on occasion drunk the oil directly from the bottle in undetermined amounts.”

Interesting: “Whether or not it is justifiable to label as “abnormal” a liking for an article of food which most people would not eat by choice, there is no doubt that the child’s liking for halibut liver oil was a factor in the case which is reported. It is interesting that this desire for the oil was replaced by a desire for butter and carrots after the administration of the oil was discontinued, and that as the patient improved clinically he lost all such desires.


Hugh W. Josephs, MD, Hypervitaminosis A and Carotenemia, American Journal of Diseases of Children, January 1944,

Case #19 (PERCOMORPH LIVER OIL, a blend of natural fish liver oils): “(…) a white girl 3 years of age, was admitted Aug. 24, 1948 to the pediatric service of Syracuse Memorial Hospital with anorexia, tenderness of the extremities, low grade fever, weakness, pronounced irritability and severe generalized pruritus and scratching, especially severe in the lower extremities; symptoms were of two weeks’ duration. The child felt that she could not walk properly and described a sensation of “walking on stones”. She cried whenever the mother attempted to pick her up. Her past history included frequent infections of the upper part of the respiratory tract but no childhood diseases.”

“On questioning the mother, it was learned that the patient had been receiving approximately 400,000 to 500,000 units of vitamin A and 60,000 to 70,000 units of vitamin D daily in the form of perdomorph liver oil since 14 months of age, a period of almost two years.”


Tyree C. Wyatt, MD, et al, HYPERVITAMINOSIS A, Report of a Case, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), September 1950,

Case #20 (PERCOMORPH LIVER OIL and COD LIVER OIL): “(…) a 23-month old infant, was admitted to Babies’ and Children’s Hospital, Cleveland on Dec. 22, 1944. The complaint was soreness and swollen legs.”

“(…) He was irritable and anorexic. (…) In addition, he had anorexia, constipation and pruritus, and he was restless and irritable.”

“He got from 1 to 2 teaspoons (from about 4 to 8 cc.) of cod liver oil daily from the age of 2 weeks.”

“The skin of the face was erythematous, and there was roughening of the epidermis over the right leg; the lips were dry and cracked, and there was bleeding at the corners of the mouth. The hair was coarse, dry and sparse. There were a few non-tender, discrete, movable shot-sized lymph nodes in the anterior, cervical and supraclavicular spaces.”

“His mother was requestioned about the vitamins she gave her son, and this time she admitted giving the following: (1) a preparation of vitamin complex, 2 teaspoons daily; (2) 1 dicalcium phosphate capsule daily; (3) grains (325 mg.) of saccharated ferrous carbonate twice daily ; (4) 50 mg. ascorbic acid daily, and (5) percomorph liver oil with viosterol (Mead), 1 teaspoon daily from the newborn period until October 1944 and then 2 teaspoons daily until the time of admission. His symptoms began shortly after the vitamins had been increased. The last preparation noted had not been given during each hospital stay, and each time he got better. It was learned that the patient was abnormally fond of butter, which he would eat by the teaspoonful.”


John A. Toomey, MD, and Russell A. Morissette, MD, Hypervitaminosis A, American Journal of Diseases of Children, 1947,

Case #21, #22, #23 (REEF FISH LIVER): “Three historical cases of fish poisoning among anglers were recorded in the 1970s in Bermuda. All episodes occurred after the consumption of fish liver from fish captured near Challenger Bank, Bermuda. The clinical presentations of these patients were similar to those of retinoid intoxication. These Bermudian anglers experienced intense headache, myalgia, progressive desquamation, generalized aching pain, and superficial vesicles and bullae of the skin. Sequelae for some included hair loss and diffuse peeling of the skin on the palms and soles, as well as a partial pigmentation loss. Symptoms began after ingestion of a meal of reef fish liver from (specifically) Challenger Bank, a submerged seamount, 12 mi offshore from Bermuda, the cone of which is roughly 200 ft (61 m) below the surface.”


E. Deweilly, et al, Vitamin A Intoxication from Reef Fish Liver Consumption in Bermuda, Journal of Food Protection, September 2011,

Case #24, #25, #26 (FISH LIVER, Grouper Fish): “We observed an episode of acute fish liver intoxication in which 3 man experienced dizziness, headache, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, fever, and desquamation after ingesting the liver of the grouper fish Cephalopholis boenak (C. boenak). One of the patients had full-blown symptoms and presented with a high fever, headache, dizziness, generalized aching pain, and superficial vesicles and bullae of the skin. The treatment was mainly supportive. In the follow-up period, he subsequently developed hair loss and diffuse peeling of the skin on his palms and soles.”


Y K Chiu et al, Acute fish liver intoxication: report of three cases, September 1999,

Case #27 (FISH LIVER, Ocean Perch): “We report a case of a 27-year-old man presenting with chief complaints of flushing, headache, nausea, and joint pain. He had consumed 800 g of grilled ocean perch liver the day before and had experienced numbness shortly after. Although physical examination revealed only facial flushing, we suspected acute vitamin A intoxication due to his diet history. On day 2 after ingestion, his serum retinol levels were elevated at 1577 ng/mL, which confirmed vitamin A intoxication. He returned for follow-up on day 4 after ingestion, by which time his presenting symptoms had improved, but he had developed desquamation of his facial skin.”

“Desquamation and cheilitis subsequently occur 2–7 days after ingestion (3,4,6,7). In our case, the patient presented with typical signs and symptoms with headache, flushing, desquamation, cheilitis, and nausea.”

IMPORTANT: “The levels of serum retinol, a potentially toxic form of vitamin A, are generally not elevated, even after the ingestion of a large amount of food rich in vitamin A.”


Yosuke Homma MD et al, A Case Report of Acute Vitamin A Intoxication due to Ocean Perch Liver Ingestion, Journal of Emergency Medicine, July 2015,

Case #28 and #29, (FISH LIVER, crowned amberjack), translated from French with Google Translate:  “A 45-year-old man and his 42-year-old wife (…) purchased from a boat based at Grau-du-Roi an exceptional piece: an adult crowned amberjack (Seriola dumerili) weighing more than 40 kg captured watches in the Mediterranean.”

“Having the habit of consuming monkfish liver, he decided to reserve for himself the piece that cannot be put up for sale. This offal was divided into two parts and eaten simply pan-fried the same day at noon for the patient and eight p.m. for his wife. Both people specified that the taste of this unusual dish was of rare finesse. After 10 hours., at the beginning of the night, the patient started having headaches that increased in intensity quickly. After 14 hours, he first vomited, then quickly non-productive. His wife then in turn had the same symptoms with disabling helmet headaches, then more heavy vomiting. The next morning, after 20 hours for the husband, the 2 patients had moderately pruritic bilateral palmar erythrosis.”

“The clinical examination found in the 2 subjects a major skin dryness with peeling at the level of 4 limbs and head, rotating dizziness, palpation painful muscle masses, asthenia in the patient who most often remained lying down. Faced with the unusual evolution of this food poisoning, the center anti-poison was consulted and hypervitaminosis A was mentioned by ingestion of large carnivorous fish liver.”

“Despite the absence of retinoid dosage in our patients, the history, the chronology of events and the table collective clinic characteristic of hypervitaminosis A (headache, dizziness, vomiting, myalgia, blurred vision, erythrosis, xeroderma then desquamation) allow us to discuss the diagnosis of fish liver poisoning carnivores rich in retinoids.”


Guillaume Ardigier et al, Intoxication par ingestion de foie de sériole de Méditerranée: tableau clinique d’une hypervitaminose A, Poisoning after ingestion of Mediterranean greater amberjack liver: Hypervitaminosis A clinical feature, La Presse Medicale, July 2010,

Case #30 to #40, 11 cases, (FISH LIVER, Halibut): “Eleven fishermen developed symptoms of acute vitamin A poisoning 5 hours after eating from 20 to 300 g of fried halibut liver, containing approximately 2-30 million units of vitamin A. The liver came from an unusually large halibut with a length of 2 m, which had been caught in the North Atlantic.”

“The men complained of dull heavy headaches, dizzyness and nausea; 4 men vomited. The next day all men appeared to have redness and desquamation of the skin. All but one sailor felt better. Appetites were normal. When the home port, Scheveningen, was reached several members of the crew visited their family doctors to show their red, peeling skin. All were able to sail again a few days later.”


J. P. Nater and H. M. G. Doeglas, Halibut Liver Poisoning in 11 Fishermen, Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 1970,

Case #41 and #42, (CHICKEN LIVER): “Twin female infants were fed 120 gm of chicken liver homogenate daily for four months. They developed irritability, vomiting, and bulging anterior fontanelles. Computed tomograms of the brain revealed enlarged ventricles in both infants and dilated subarachnoid spaces in one. Plasma vitamin A concentrations were elevated. After all sources of vitamin A intake were stopped, the infants recovered without sequelae.”


C. Patrick Mahoney, Chronic Vitamin A Intoxication in Infants Fed Chicken Liver, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1980,

Case #43 and #44 (CHICKEN LIVER) ONE DEATH: “Patient 1. This white boy was born to unrelated parents of European Jewish extraction. His first 6 months of life were complicated by poor growth and persistent otitis media. Myringotomy tubes were placed, and bilateral mastoidectomies were eventually performed. He was otherwise healthy until age 3 years, when he complained of severe leg pain. Radiographs demonstrated periosteal new bone formation on both tibias, both femurs, and the right radius. Increased intracranial pressure and splayed cranial sutures and hypercalcemia (11.2 mg/dL, 2.8 mmol/L) were present. In the following year, otitis recurred and symptoms of increased intracranial pressure (headache, nausea, vomiting, and papilledema) continued, necessitating placement of a ventrieulo- peritoneal shunt. An erythematous, exfoliative rash, alopecia totalis, liver disease, and ascites ensued. He died of renal failure associated with severe coagulopathy, pneumonia, and sepsis. Vitamin supplements had not been given on a daily basis, but multivitamins containing 2500 IU (750 REq) vitamin A had been occasionally used during the first 9 months of life. A 10-day course of a multivitamin containing 450 IU (137 REq) vitamin A had been given in the second Year. Chicken liver spread, consisting of approximately 25 g chicken liver fried in fat, was ingested two to three times a week. Dietary intake, however, did not differ from that of the parents or a healthy older sister.”

“Patient 2. The younger brother of patient 1 had recurrent exudative otitis beginning at 5 months of age, requiring myringotomies and intermittent antibiotic therapy. Otitis media characterized by a profuse black exudate recurred at age 289years, accompanied by lymphadenopathy, leg pain, and nausea. Limp, vomiting, and fever ensued, and papilledema was noted. Vitamin supplements containing 2500 IU (750 REq) vitamin A had been administered daily during the first few months of life. Diet included chicken liver spread two to three times a week, but did not differ from that of the parents or the healthy sister. Radio- graphs revealed splayed cranial sutures, but long bones were normal. A cranial CT scan revealed mild nonobstructive hydrocephalus.”

“Therefore, one chicken liver spread sandwich could contain as much as 10,500 IU (3380 REq) vitamin A, and the daily intake of vitamin A might have totaled 15,000 IU (4550 REq), including milk and multivitamin supplementation.”

“The patient remained well until 4 months after the infusion, when signs of increased intracranial pressure recurred and a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed. A liver biopsy specimen was obtained at this time, revealing features of severe vitamin A overload, including periportal fibrosis, crystalloid mitochondrial inclusions, and disrup- tion of hepatic architecture by numerous lipid-laden, nonparenchymal stellate (Ito) cells.” [This was after around 1.5 years on a low vitamin A diet of less than 300 IU/day. – Paola]

“Our two patients received chicken liver potentially containing large amounts of vitamin A. The ingested amounts would account for a total weekly intake of approximately 60,000 IU vitamin A, or an average daily intake of 5000 to 10,000 IU. These calculations assume that vitamin A content of the consumed liver was consis- tently as great as the maximum measured in raw, random samples. It is possible that livers of even greater vitamin A content were consumed. Nevertheless, the fatal outcome in the older child and the severe protracted course in the younger boy are not consistent with the usual course of vitamin A intoxication. ”

IMPORTANT: “A sister with identical dietary intake was healthy and had normal circulating levels of retinol and retinyl esters, suggesting variable tolerance within the family.”


Thomas O. Carpenter MD, et al, Severe hypervitaminosis A in siblings: evidence of variable tolerance to retinol intake, The Journal of Pediatrics 1987,

Case #45 (BEEF LIVER + Supplements): “Patient 1. A 29-year-old white man originally presented (…)  with a chief complaint of chronic fatigue of five years’ duration.”

“At the time of his presentation in 1979, he complained of lack of energy, anorexia, and decreased muscle strength.”

“Our initial clinical impressions at this time were: (1) malnutrition sec- ondary to anorexia of unclear cause, (2) history of infectious mononucleosis, (3) history of Gilbert’s disease.”

“The biopsy findings of cirrhosis prompted further questioning of the patient about his vitamin A intake. He then disclosed that he had a fondness for beef liver and may have regularly consumed two or three large portions (6 to 8 ounces) per week for the past eight to nine years. This quantity of liver provides an average daily intake of 30,000 to 40,000 IU of preformed vitamin A. In addition, the patient admitted taking a daily multivitamin supplement intermittently, which contained 5,000 IU of vitamin A per tablet.”

“On the basis of these findings, a diagnosis of hepatic cirrhosis secondary to chronic hypervitaminosis A was made.”


Stephen B. Inkeles, MD, et al, Hepatic and Dermatologic Manifestations of Chronic Hypervitaminosis A in Adults, The American Journal of Medicine, 1986,

Report of Two Cases

Case #46 – #50, five cases, (BEEF LIVER): “We wish to draw attention to dietary habits of patients with pseudotumor cerebri (PTC), a syndrome of elevated intracranial pressure that typically occurs in obese young women and is characterized by headache and papilledema. The nature of this condition is usually undiscovered but is associated with a variety of disorders, the most predictable of which is vitamin A intoxication. In fact, pseudotumor cerebri occurs in 30% to 50% of patients with hypervitaminosis A.1,2 This causal relationship prompted us to conduct a dietary survey of approximately 50 patients with idiopathic PTC.”

“Surprisingly, we discovered five patients who ate beef liver at least once or twice a week. Several patients consumed liver at multiple meals during a single day or regularly on luncheon sandwiches; two patients disclosed that they routinely purchased 6 to 24 lb of liver each week. None of the patients were using any of the medications occasionally associated with PTC. With the exception of mild to moderate papilledema, general physical and neurological examination findings were normal. Cranial computed tomographic scans were also normal, and CSF pressure was elevated in each of the four patients who permitted a lumbar puncture. Dietetic estimates of daily vitamin A intake in the five patients were 60,000 IU, 64,000 IU, 70,000 IU, 87,000 IU and 341,000 IU. (Recommended dietary allowance is 4,000 to 5,000 IU/day.) [This has since been lowered – Paola] Random serum vitamin A levels (normally 30 to 70 ug/dl) were elevate in four of the five patients (75 ug/dl, 107 ug/dl, 121 ug/dl, and 146 ug/dl). Two patients were men and three were women. All five patients were mildly to severely obese, and each had habitually ingested liver for several years or more. Skin manifestations of vitamin A intoxication were not observed in any of the patients;, this suggests the possibilty that neural membranes have the lowest level of sensitivity to chronic hypervitaminosis A.”


John B. Selhorst, MD, et al, Liver Lover’s Headache: Pseudotumor Cerebri and Vitamin A Intoxication, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 1984,

Picture credit:

Home made pate wrapped in bacon from pork and liver on rustic table with knife on plate

Stock Photo ID: 465326053

Copyright: miromiro


Testing for Vitamin A Poisoning – Serum Retinol

Testing for Vitamin A Poisoning – Serum Retinol

Testing for Vitamin A Poisoning – Serum Retinol

laboratory test

Serum retinol is one of the most common vitamin A tests but also one of the least useful.

Serum retinol levels can not be used to either diagnose or dismiss vitamin A poisoning.

Your serum retinol levels can be above or BELOW normal or it can be normal and yet you can still be vitamin A poisoned.

Here are the documents that support this view:

1. “Liver Damage Caused by Therapeutic Vitamin A Administration: Estimate of Dose-Related Toxicity in 41 Cases”

This study involved 41 patients. All patients were confirmed to be vitamin A poisoned based on liver biopsies.

24 of the 41 had their serum retinol tested.

Of those 24:

  • 4 were below normal
  • 11 were normal
  • 9 were above normal

Normal range for serum retinol was 25 to 75 mcg/dl.

Conclusion:  Serum retinol can not be used to confirm vitamin A poisoning.


2. “Vitamin A toxicity: When one a day doesn’t keep the doctor away”

This is a case report of a man who had confirmed vitamin A poisoning based on a liver biopsy but had normal retinol levels:

The patient’s free retinol level was normal.


3. “Hepatic Injury from Chronic Hypervitaminosis a Resulting in Portal Hypertension and Ascites”


This is another case report of a woman with vitamin A toxicity as confirmed via liver biopsy.

“The serum vitamin A level was slightly elevated at 58.7 ug per 100 ml (normal, 30 to 50)”.

Although it was elevated based on a reference range of 30 to 50 mcg/dl, the result is within a normal range if a reference range of maximum 75 mcg/dl from the previous paper are applied.


4. Merck Manual


The Merck Manuals published by the pharmaceutical company Merck & Co are as mainstream medicine as you can go.

They are used as an authoritative source of medical information.

Here is what they say about diagnosing vitamin A toxicity:

“Diagnosis of vitamin A toxicity is clinical. Blood vitamin levels correlate poorly with toxicity. However, if clinical diagnosis is equivocal, laboratory testing may help. In vitamin A toxicity, fasting serum retinol levels may increase from normal (28 to 86 mcg/dL [1 to 3 mcmol/L]) to > 100 mcg/dL (> 3.49 mcmol/L), sometimes to > 2000 mcg/dL (> 69.8 mcmol/L). Hypercalcemia is common.

Differentiating vitamin A toxicity from other disorders may be difficult. Carotenosis may also occur in severe hypothyroidism and anorexia nervosa, possibly because carotene is converted to vitamin A more slowly.”


5. “Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc”


This document issued by the National Academy of Sciences on dietary reference intakes is part of an “authoritative series” with recommendation on vitamin and mineral intakes.

Here is what they say about serum retinol testing:

“Because of the relatively insensitive relationship between plasma retinol concentration and liver vitamin A in the adequate range, and because of the potential for confounding factors to affect the level and interpretation of the concentration, it was not chosen as a primary status indicator for a population for estimating an average requirement for vitamin A.”

Translation into English: There is no relationship between the liver stores of vitamin A and plasma retinol. The liver stores determine the real vitamin A burden. Serum retinol can not reflect those adequately.


6. “The acute and chronic toxic effects of vitamin A”


This is a document authored by researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

It also appears to be of some authoritative value for conventional medicine, since it’s used as a source by Wikipedia.

A quote from the paper about serum retinol:

“Assessing vitamin A status in persons with subtoxicity or toxicity is complicated because serum retinol concentrations are nonsensitive indicators in this range of liver vitamin A reserves.”


No standardized reference levels for serum retinol


Another problem with serum retinol is that there are no universally agreed upon reference ranges for what is normal or not, as one can see based on the above examples.

What is considered normal can differ from one laboratory to the next and from one scientific paper to another.

One of the above documents used a reference range of 30 to 50 mcg/dl as normal.

The other went up to 75 mcg/dl.

Yet other sources go even higher up to 120 mcg/dl.

The first laboratory I used in Germany cites the normal range as being 30 to 60 mcg/dl.

A laboratory I used in a different country cited values of 30 to 70 mcg/dl.

The Livertox database, set up by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), cites 37 to 45 mcg/dl as normal for an 18-year-old person, or 30 to 50 mcg/dl for a 63 years old.

The University of California says it’s 15 to 60 mcg/dl.

Depending on what laboratory you use and depending on what source you consult, your serum retinol levels can be considered deficient, normal, or toxic.

Serum retinol as a tracking tool


I believe the serum retinol is still a useful tool, but no so much to diagnose vitamin A poisoning, but instead to track one’s progress on a vitamin A deficient diet, especially to track the detox setback phase.

The setback is a phase that sets in after around 2 to 3 months on a low vitamin A diet. According to Grand Genereux and Dr. Garrett Smith this can be observed in around 50% of the cases.

During that phase, one can experience a reversal of previous gains. New symptoms can appear as well, or old ones from years ago that seemed to be long gone.

During this detox setback, serum retinol levels tend to go up.

Once the setback is overcome, serum retinol comes back down again.

You can see this on my serum retinol results of the past 15 months:

This graph tracks my serum retinol levels from December 2021 until December 2022. During that time I followed a strict vitamin A deficient diet of mostly beef and black beans, with some occasional rice (less than 100 IU of vitamin A per day). I was testing my serum retinol every month, except in January 2022 and in the period between February and June 2022, hence the missing results. But even with the incomplete data, one can see clearly the detox setback phase. It likely started sometime in February 2022 (around 3  months after the beginning of my low vit A experiment). This coincided with a regression of some of my symptoms and the emergence of new ones.


Note, October 27th, 2023: This is an article that I originally published on my website (now deleted).


Testing for Vitamin A Poisoning – A Low Vitamin A Diet

Testing for Vitamin A Poisoning – A Low Vitamin A Diet

Testing for Vitamin A Poisoning – A Low Vitamin A Diet

Beef patties and black beans - low vitamin a diet

A low vitamin A diet trial was my confirmation that I was vitamin A poisoned. I knew within 24 to 48 hours that I had found the cause of my problems.

I find a dietary trial to be the most informative test. It can be repeated as many times as you like, the results can be near immediate, it doesn’t require a visit to your doctor, and no one is poking around in your organs, causing damage.

It comes with some drawbacks: you need to be well in tune with your body, especially if you are dealing with ever changing emotional or not well defined symptoms. On top of that, once you drastically reduce your vitamin A intake, you may develop extreme reactions to foods which didn’t cause much of a problem before.

This type of approach is a developing field. There is no generally agreed upon, tried and tested way to implement a low vitamin A diet trial that works for everyone equally well and at all times. There is an ongoing discussion about which foods to include and which to eliminate with sometimes conflicting opinions.

The following reflects mostly my take on it. You may see good results with other approaches.

What is a low vitamin A diet? 

That’s where the discussion starts. There is no definite answer to this question, as far as I can see it.

It may be anything between 0 and 1,500 IU of vitamin A per day. Some say that going below the RDA of 3,000 IU is considered low vitamin A.

Others may need to go close to zero IU per day to have a definite confirmation. (Technically, it’s not possible to go completely zero since all foods contain trace amounts of vitamin A.)

The allowed vitamin A intake may also vary from person to person, depending on their level of poisoning and how they respond to the intervention.

In general, it seems that people who cut out vitamin A more drastically (who go on a muscle meat carnivory, or beans, rice, and beef diet) don’t experience the detox phase, or less frequently.

Here, I will describe the two general approaches that I find the most valuable.

How to implement a low vitamin A diet

Pick an upper limit of vitamin A you want to ingest per day (between 0 and 1,500 IU), track your foods with an app like and at the same time keep a journal of your symptoms. Rate them every day to track progress or lack thereof.

Remove all supplements that contain vitamin A in any form. 

Here is what you are allowed to eat on a low vitamin A diet, depending on how strict you want (or need) to go: 

  1. Very strict: max 100 IU per day

There are different options how to implement a super low vitamin A diet:

  • Muscle meat carnivory. You eat only meat. No organs, no eggs, no dairy, no fish. The meats can include beef, bison, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork (there is some debate about that, see below), boar, and venison. An even more restrictive version of this diet is the Lion Diet, consisting of only ruminant meats like beef, bison, venison, and lamb.  
  • Muscle meat, black beans
  • Muscle meat, black beans, rice (white, brown, or black)
  1. Less strict: max 1,500 IU per day

Includes any of the above, plus:

  • Beans (black, kidney, white, pinto) and lentils
  • Oats, barley, quinoa,  
  • Pale or white fruit, for example: peeled apples, peeled pears, bananas, pineapple, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, lemon, lychee, 
  • Pale or white veggies and starches, for example: white carrots, white corn, parsnips, parsley root, celery root, potatoes, cauliflower, green cabbage, mushrooms, kohlrabi, asparagus, onions (both white and red), peeled zucchini, peeled cucumber, 
  • Nuts: Peanuts, almonds, macademia, hazelnuts, walnuts, 


  • Water
  • Coffee

Fats to use (see notes below): 

  • Olive oil, sparingly
  • Tallow
  • Lard (I think it’s mostly fine, others disagree, see discussion below)


  • Organs (liver, kidneys)
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Fatty fish, but especially mackerel, tuna, salmon, eel, fish roe
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Winter squash (pumpkin, butternut squash, etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Orange carrots 
  • Spinach
  • Most foods which are bright orange, red, yellow, or dark green, examples: chard, kale, tomatoes, bell peppers, papaya, mango, cantaloupe
  • Bright colored spices: cayenne pepper, paprika

Debate about pork, coffee, sweeteners, cauliflower, etc. 

In the low vitamin A community there are ongoing debates about certain foods and whether they should be included in a low vitamin A diet or not, with different camps taking on different stances. Some issues are still unresolved.

Pork: According to various food apps and the USDA nutrition data base, pork contains very little or no vitamin A, which is true especially for lean cuts. Despite this, Dr. Garrett Smith thinks that pork contains a not easily identifiable or measurable form of vitamin A. I tend to believe that pork is NOT a significant source of vitamin A. I have experimented with pork numerous times and I could not identify symptoms which I attribute to vitamin A poisoning. I found this to be true for lean cuts like tenderloin. Fatty cuts like bacon are not entirely clear to me, yet. This may also vary from country to country or farm to farm, depending on the animal feed and received supplementation.

Coffee: Although it is as good as zero vitamin A, it does seem to stimulate bile flow which can be problematic for people with some form of bile duct obstruction. Grant Genereux was drinking coffee for a good portion of his ongoing low vitamin A experiment, but then stopped and reported improvements in certain areas. This didn’t seem to have anything to do with a change in the vitamin A intake, though. Dr. Smith is of the opinion that caffein is a plant toxin and discourages its consumption.

Sweeteners: Vitamin A causes inflammation. Sweeteners can further add to the existing inflammation even if some of them do not contain vitamin A. In addition, I speculate that a significant portion of vitamin A poisoned people suffers from some degree of fatty liver disease. Carbs can contribute to this type of liver damage and make it worse. Sugar of course is the most concentrated form of carbohydrates. So, I think that it’s best to completely abstain from any form of sweeteners, including stevia (there is conflicting evidence about stevia which shows both a liver protective as well as a liver damaging effect). Having said that, maple syrup, honey, and white sugar (I know, it’s crazy) contain zero vitamin A. Keep also in mind that some countries fortify sugar with vitamin A.

Cauliflower: Grant Genereux speculates that cauliflower could be responsible for contributing to the detox phase during which people feel a temporary worsening of symptoms. I haven’t eaten any cauliflowers since starting my low vitamin A diet and I did experience the detox set-back. This is something that will need to be investigated more in depth.

Fats: There doesn’t seem to be a good solution to this, yet, since most fats appear to contain some form of vitamin A. Animals tend to accumulate retinol in their fat. This results in possibly significant levels of vitamin A in tallow and lard. Grant recommends small amounts of olive oil. Refined oils seem to have less vitamin A than unrefined ones but can contain beta-carotenes as colorants. Personally, I believe that lard is acceptable in small amounts. Another solution is to boil or broil foods instead of frying them. Many poisoned people seem to benefit from a low fat diet in addition to a low vitamin A diet.

How long does it take to see results?

I saw two of my symptoms (out of a list of 30+) improve within one or two days. I took that as confirmation of vitamin A poisoning.

Grant Genereux saw a significant drop in his overall body-wide inflammation in the first three days of his reduced vitamin A diet (pages 58ff ). For the following 3 to 4 weeks he saw only some or no minor progress, and was about to give up. He decided to continue for another three days, during which he felt a profound transformation to the positive with complete resolution of fatigue, joint pain, and brain fog.

I know someone who has been on a beef and black beans diet for two months without seeing any results to his fatigue and so overall health status, but a marked improvement in digestion and liver enzymes.

A study on people with psoriasis showed that some participants responded within four weeks to see the first slight improvements on a low vitamin A diet, while others had to wait up to 4.5 months to see marked improvements.

How quickly someone responds to a low vitamin A diet may depend on many different factors: the level of poisoning, the type of damage, and how much they restricted the vitamin A intake.

I would take any sign of improvement within the first two months as a confirmation that vitamin A is responsible for at least some measure of damage.

What are the pros and cons of a low vitamin A diet?


1. Temporary hypersensitivity to vitamin A. It appears that some who switch to a low vitamin A diet, develop a temporary hypersensitivity to vitamin A or carotenoids.

Foods that they were able to consume with only mild or barely any reactions, now trigger extreme responses. This can be in the form of any of the known vitamin A symptoms.

It is not clear how often this occurs or if some people are more predisposed to this than others. The solution may be to completely abstain from the trigger foods for a while.

2. Detox phase. This detox or setback phase typically sets in within a month or two after going low vitamin A. Grant Genereux estimates that around 50% of people experience it.

During the detox phase, symptoms that had initially improved can worsen again. Old symptoms from years or decades ago can resurface. I believe that this is when people tend to experience hypersensitivity to vitamin A.

The detox phase can include any known vitamin A toxicity symptoms. There are case reports of hypervitaminosis A that cite the onset of hair loss months after the cessation of vitamin A supplements, although other symptoms had completely resolved.

3. It can take time to see results, longer than the estimated 6 to 8 weeks. Grant was about to give up after three weeks, luckily he persisted and it paid off. Especially when dealing with manifest symptoms like eyesight, hyperpigmentation on the skin, abdominal pain, or fatty liver, it may take longer to see improvements.

4. Requires being “in tune” with your body. Some changes may be subtle and difficult to track. Things like cognitive function, fatigue, and anxiety — there may be changes that are imperceptible at first. It may require being in tune with your body’s response to understand what really happens. Keeping a journal is a good idea.

5. It requires a lot of discipline. Keeping to a certain diet requires a lot of focus and determination. Generally, the sicker you are, the higher will be your motivation to stick to it. Pain can be an incredible catalyst for change. It has been for me.


1, You can see results within a few days. It is not unusual to see some kind of improvement, even if just in some symptoms within the first few days. I saw a significant reduction in ankle swelling and a resolution of chills within one to two days. 

2. It can be repeated multiple times. If you are not sure if it was indeed the vitamin A that played a role, you can re-verify your results as many times as you need to find confirmation. Are you not sure if your improved energy levels were because you stopped eating eggs? Start eating them again and observe what happens. Keep in mind, that there can be a delayed reaction, and keep in mind that each time you re-poison yourself with vitamin A, the next time it can get harder to detox.

3. You don’t need a doctor. You don’t need a prescription, you don’t need to see your doctor at all for that. All you need is a well-stocked supermarket. Maybe not even that – just buy stuff online and have it delivered to you.

4. Non-invasive. There is no poking involved, no needles, no anesthesia to put you under for a liver biopsy. Consequently, there is no risk of organ damage or infections.

5. Low risk. Yes, there is the risk of detox symptoms or temporary hypersensitivity to vitamin A foods, but compared to the risks during a liver biopsy, they are minor and transitory.

6. It requires a lot of discipline. Keeping to a certain diet in the pursuit of a concrete health goal requires a lot of discipline. Which is a cool thing to learn.


Note, October 27th, 2023: This is an article that I originally published on my website (now deleted).