Nutritionists warn of a new risk as the world’s population rises to more than one billion people.
But they are also warning that the risk of vitamin A toxicity is “far too high” and that it can be prevented.
The latest report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) says there is a “potential” for the world to be overburdened with vitamin A.
“Vitamin A is the body’s main source of vitamin B6,” said Dr Richard Dutton, the WHO’s head of the vitamin A programme.
“It’s a precursor for all the other B vitamins, including B12, folate and vitamin K.”
“And so if we’re consuming too much of this vitamin, it can cause vitamin B12 deficiency, which can be very dangerous.”
Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of nerve cells and the production and maintenance of blood vessels.
“In a normal person, we have an optimal amount of B12 in the blood,” Dr Dutton said.
“If we’re not getting enough, we get the vitamin B2.”
And if we are deficient, the levels can get out of balance.
“He added that the situation was becoming more and more acute because of the growing demand for food.”
The numbers are so great, we’re now in a situation where we’re seeing the demand for a lot of foods that have vitamin B-12 in them,” Dr Dan Dutton told ABC News Breakfast.”
People are actually eating more than they need, and that’s where the vitamin deficiency becomes a problem.
“What we’re doing is creating a food system that’s a bit of a nightmare.”‘
Very dangerous’There is also a risk of “fatal” vitamin A poisoning if vitamin A is not properly taken.
“That’s a very dangerous thing, because the risk can actually be extremely high,” Dr Vatsi Prasad, a clinical professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Sydney, told ABC Radio’s Today program.
“So if you’ve got a vitamin A deficit and you’re not taking enough vitamin A, you’re very, very vulnerable.”
Because when you get the chance of getting a little bit of vitamin K or folate, it does a lot for your metabolism and you do a lot more than you need.
“Dr Prasade says there are other things to be concerned about, including the use of supplements and the high use of food in Australia.”
We know that in the US, we’ve got one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, and one of our major problems is that we are very heavy consumers of processed foods, and it’s a major contributor to the increase in obesity,” she said.
Dr Prasesade says the report highlights the need for the Australian Government to set up a national food database to help identify and address the problem.