Oxidative stress and vitamin A

A detailed blog post was written on this topic


Here I will just summarize what is written there and also add a few things that have to do with anxiety neurosis, for links to the research I also refer to the blog.

Of all the vitamins studied, the greatest deficiency in people with panic attacks was in vitamin A. There is a catch here, as the measurements can give erroneous results in people who are deficient in zinc or magnesium, the fact remains that this is what the study found.

Patients also have very high levels of oxidative stress, which means that their cell membranes are constantly being damaged. In an extreme case, in an artificially induced vitamin E deficiency in a rat (by inducing this deficiency, scientists are testing what effect oxidation has on mammalian organisms), they were able to show that such damaged nerve cell membranes let up to 2.5 times more potassium through, causing deficiency symptoms even when the levels of this element in the body are apparently adequate.

Low levels of vitamin A mean that calcium and vitamin D3 in even small doses can cause symptoms of toxicity, which may explain why so many people with anxiety disorder have high levels of the element in their blood and also respond very poorly to supplements.

In one study, supplementing vitamin A, E, and C in people with panic attacks virtually completely cured the illness; identical results were obtained in the same study for depression. The researchers concluded that this was the result of stopping oxidative stress, mainly due to supplementation of deficiencies in the primary antioxidants, vitamins C and E.

In another, vitamin E supplementation was enough to raise magnesium levels inside patients’ cells. As it turns out, its deficiency (or the resulting oxidative stress) blocks the passage of this element into the cell.

Perhaps this is the secret of anxiety disorder? Maybe it’s just an electrolyte disturbance, resulting from overlapping vitamin A deficiency and flooding the body with free radicals? These two factors make nerve cells unable to properly manage calcium (A) and potassium (E and C).

Perhaps herein lies the solution to the mystery of why studies involving omega 3’s sometimes produce such good results and sometimes have no effect at all? Maybe it’s not the omegas that are the healing factor, but the vitamin E added to some of them, so if the supplement was preserved with it, it helped, if it wasn’t, it didn’t do anything?

Whatever the mechanism behind it, it is certainly worth a try.

Vitamin A – it is necessary to use the retinol form, or pharmacy capsules, as one of the causes of deficiency is the lack of proper conversion of the provitamin form (carotene) to the active form (retinol). It is also necessary to use large doses for a long time, in practice it will be about 25 000 units (IU, IU) per day for a whole month, only such doses are able to raise the level in the body.

Vitamin E – the ideal is a mixture of tocopherols, but here there is another problem, manufacturers often label products that contain practically no other forms than the basic one, it is enough that they add trace amounts to have the right to write on the package “contains mixed tocopherols”. That’s why it’s worth looking to see if they’re stating how much of what form it is specifically. We’re not going to take it for life, just for a month or two at the most, so it’s safe to buy plain natural or even synthetic. The appropriate dose is about 400 IU (IU) per day.

In the case of vitamin C 500 mg (0.5 grams) of any, the cheapest you can get, is enough. Contrary to what you are told by various scammers, all forms work the same.

After a month of such supplementation your body will be saturated, oxidation controlled. This does not mean that everything will be fine for sure, it is very likely that only after such saturation it will be possible to assimilate magnesium, potassium and calcium.

Even if this doesn’t help with anxiety, studies don’t lie, patients have very high levels of oxidation. This kind of thing makes the body age faster, increases the risk of mutations leading to cancer, and damages arteries, which can result in heart attack or stroke. Supplementation could be something that literally saves our lives.