Initial Posting: 8/19/2015    Last Update: 8/2/2017
Question: I am very concerned about getting too much vitamin A. Is there danger in getting too much vitamin A if I take fish oil, which I've heard contains a lot of vitamin A, in addition to my multivitamin?
Answer: Most traditional fish oil supplements (from the oil in fish meat) do not contain significant amounts of vitamin A and should not be of concern when taken with a multivitamin.
On the other hand, fish liver oils such as cod liver oil do contain significant amounts of vitamin A. Some of these products exceed the established upper limit for vitamin A for adults of 10,000 IU per day, or could exceed this limit if taken with multivitamins that contain high amounts of vitamin A. (See amounts of vitamin A found in popular cod and other fish liver oils in the Vitamin A Supplements Review).
When calculating the amount of vitamin A you are getting from supplements, note that the upper limit only includes the retinol form, such as retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate, not beta-carotene. (There are, however, separate concerns with getting too much beta-carotene).
Also, keep in mind that Americans are more likely to get too much vitamin A from their diets, rather than too little. Unless you are deficient or have a condition which causes deficiency, you may not need to get any vitamin A from supplements. For more about the risks of getting too much vitamin A, see the Vitamin A Supplements Review >>