Please help me. I have quite a few questions about beta-carotene and Vitamin A and need some advice.
My doctor and pharmacist haven't got a clue.
Every day for several years, I have been taking 16,000 IU of Vitamin A, not the beta-carotene kind, to keep me from swelling up like a grape. If I stop taking it, my feet start to swell up, after about three days. They get bigger and bigger and bigger and the rest of my body starts to show visible swelling as well. It takes many days of lying flat on my back with my feet raised, to get back down to a normal size. I have no other physical problems, thankfully. My doctor has had me extensively tested.
So, if anyone can help with the following questions, I would appreciate it very much.
A good friend said beta-carotene would do the exact same things as the Vitamin A I'm taking now, but be non-toxic. Is she correct? How much beta-carotene should one take per day?
My pharmacy sells only one type of beta-carotene. The detail pane on the label reads “Gel Cap: Vitamin A – 500% of the daily value.” Is the 500 percent only made by your body if it needs it? What happens to the rest? Does the rest of the beta-carotene get stored in body fat or is it, completely, removed by natural body functions? If the beta-carotene is stored in the body, how long does it stay in the body?
I remember that years ago, maybe the 1960's, seeing a TV program of doctors going to Africa and giving children really huge shots of Vitamin A. The shot was supposed to be of benefit to the children for many years. Now it seems that this might have been very harmful. I'm worried. Will taking beta-carotene instead will be better for me, both short and long term? I hope someone can answer these questions for me. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.