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    Vitamin A test

    Retinol test

    Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. This article describes the test used to measure the amount of vitamin A in the blood.

    See also: Beta-carotene test

    How the Test is Performed

    A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture

    How to Prepare for the Test

    Do not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test.

    How the Test Will Feel

    When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

    Why the Test is Performed

    This test is done to determine if you have too much or too little vitamin A in your blood. However, such conditions are uncommon in the United States.

    Normal Results

    Normal values range from 50 to 200 micrograms per deciliter.

    The examples above are common measurements for results of these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Lower than normal values mean you do not have enough vitamin A in your blood. This may cause:

    • Bone or teeth problemsin young children
    • Dry or inflamed eyes
    • Hair loss
    • Loss of appetite
    • Night blindness
    • Recurring infections
    • Skin rashes

    A vitamin A deficiency may occur if your body has trouble absorbing fats through the digestive tract. This may occur if you have:

    • Celiac disease
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Pancreatitis

    Risks

    Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.

    Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

    • Excessive bleeding
    • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
    • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
    • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

    References

    Mason JB. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 225.

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        Review Date: 11/17/2011

        Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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        St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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