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Vitamin A Linked to Less Human Blood Cells, Study

Update Date: Feb 24, 2015 06:47 PM EST
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Vitamin A is dangerous in high doses, according to new research.

After exposing a set of stem cells to specific signal molecules, or retinoic acid, produced by vitamin A, lead researcher Professor Niels-Bjarne Woods and his team from Lund Stem Cell Center in Sweden found that increasing levels of vitamin A actually significantly reduced the number of blood cells that could be produced. However, a reduction in vitamin A significantly increased the production of blood cells.

Researchers said the latest findings suggest that too much vitamin A could hurt unborn fetuses by increasing the risk of malformation and miscarriage.

"Our results show that vitamin A in high doses has a negative effect on blood development. This suggests that there is an additional reason for pregnant women to avoid excessive intake of vitamin A during pregnancy," said Niels-Bjarne Woods.

"The current research findings increase our understanding of the complexity of the process of blood formation during embryonic development. We hope that this, together with new future discoveries, will lead to the generation of blood stem cells in the laboratory, which in turn can be used to treat blood disorders and malignancies," concluded Niels-Bjarne Woods.

The findings were published in the journal Stem Cell Reports

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