Synthetic vitamin A, get out of my soy milk!

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Oh synthetic vitamin A, how I despise you in my soy milk. I loathe you in my hemp milk, my coconut milk, my almond milk and every other non-dairy milk you seem to stealthily seep your way into. It’s not cool and you and I will never be friends. I am sorry.  I read about you on the carton of my beverage and I cringe. You know the harm you are causing my cells, right? Well, I find it inexcusable and you to be my incorrigible enemy.

You must know that you will never be able to compete with your nice, natural form found in plant foods, those provitamin A carotenoids.  While your benevolent, naturally occurring cousin is essential to the health of humans far and wide, you relish at the thought of increasing our risk of serious harm later in life.  What’s the deal with giving us an increased risk of certain cancers, like lung and prostate cancer, and interfering with the absorption of other important nutrients like lutein and lycopene?![i]  And what’s with putting us at an greater risk for osteoporosis and hip fractures as we get older?[ii][iii] You basically suck. Don’t pretend that you don’t realize what you are doing.

I know you want to stand out from all of those other important nutrients found in natural plant foods and isolate yourself in an encapsulated supplement. Being just one in a crowd of thousands of vital nutrients has never been your thing. Yet, while you may stand out in a tiny pill, you left your caring, salubrious self behind the moment you decided to leave those plants.

However, be warned synthetic vitamin A. Be very, very warned. Scientists are beginning to pick up on your nefarious scheming. Those toxic games you play when you are ingested without those other carotenoids in plant foods are no longer pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes.

Finnish studies have shown that you increase the risk of lung cancer by 28 percent and heart disease by 17 percent.[iv] Scientific publications, such as the Journal of the National Cancer Institute,[v] the Lancet,[vi] and the New England Journal of Medicine,[vii] have printed scientific publications exposing you and advising people to stop taking supplements with you in it.

Sadly, you still remain in most multivitamin pills sold in the United States at a serving of 100% of the government’s daily dietary recommendations.  In my soymilk you are present in lower amounts, generally at 10% of daily recommendations per cup.  The studies above were indicative of dangers at consumption equivalents to 100% of USDA governmental recommendations, but I still don’t like you camping out in my soymilk.

So, I implore you and those with higher powers above you, like the humans who manufacture my soymilk, please leave your synthetic self out.  Go back to where you belong in plants.

I realize consuming one cup of soymilk at 10% of daily governmental recommendations is not the same as consuming 100%, but I’d like to avoid you and your devious ways much as possible.

Do not have a nice day.

Yours truly,


A note to readers: Synthetic vitamin A should obviously not be added to any foods and food manufactures should get with the program. However, I still continue to consume soymilk and other non-dairy milks fortified with vitamin A because I don’t have time to make my own nut or soy milk every time I want to use some in my cooking and nondairy milks, even with the addition of synthetic vitamin A, are so much better for us compared to dairy products. The word from my dad, Dr. Fuhrman, is that drinking a cup of soymilk per day is not harmful at current levels of vitamin A in these beverages. So, nobody freak out! However, I did want to make you all aware of the dangers of synthetic vitamin A at dosages present in most vitamin pills and the dangers of isolated vitamin A, in general.

My dad has manufactured his own line of vitamin pills sans vitamin A and other vitamins and minerals found to be dangerous in isolated form. To find out more CLICK HERE.

[i] Mayne ST. Beta-carotene, carotenoids, and disease prevention in humans. FASEB. 1996;10(7):690-701.
Goodman GE. Prevention of lung cancer. Current Opinion in Oncology 1998;10(2):122-126.
Kolata G. Studies Find Beta Carotene, Taken by Millions, Can’t Forestall Cancer or Heart Disease. New York Times, Jan 19, 1996.

[ii] Melhus H, Michaelson K, Kindmark A, et al. Excessive dietary intake of vitamin A is associated with reduced bone mineral density and increased risk of hip fracture. Ann Intern Med 1998;129(10):770-778.

[iii] Whiting SJ, Lemke B. Excess retinol intake may explain the high incidence of osteoporosis in northern Europe. Nutr Rev 1999;57(6):192-195.

[iv] Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, et al. Effects of a combination of beta carotene and vitamin A on lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334(18);1150-1155.

[v] Albanes D, Heinonen OP, Taylor PR, et al. Alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements and lung cancer incidence in the alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene cancer prevention study: effects of base-line characteristics and study compliance. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 1996;88(21):1560-1570.

[vi] Rapola JM, Virtamo J, Ripatti S, et al. Randomized trial of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplements on incidence of major coronary events in men with previous myocardial infarction. Lancet 1997;349(9067):1715-1720.

[vii] Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, et al. Effects of a combination of beta carotene and vitamin A on lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334(18);1150-1155.
Hennekens CH, Buring JE, Manson JE, et al. Lack of effect of long-term supplementation with beta carotene on the incidence of malignant neoplasms and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine 1996;334(18):1145-1149.


  1. Rachel says:

    I really appreciate the hard work you put into your blog and in depth information you present! I learned so much from reading this. I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account. Keep up the great articles! 🙂

  2. Lydia B. says:

    Hi Talia! Thank you so much for writing this! Somehow over the past year of being vegan, it has been totally going over my head that my almond milk had vitamin A added to it! But since reading your dad’s book Eat to Live, I have agreed that I want nothing to do with preformed vitamin A supplements!

    I’m going to try alternating between my almond brand (can’t get one without the A thrown in) and West Soy’s organic soy milk (if you can acquire that brand where you are, they stick to 2 ingredients: water and soybeans!) I went about trying to find an unfortified non-dairy milk after reading this and thankfully there is one out there!

    But yes, you’re right – the awareness is the biggest thing! Thanks again for making me aware. 🙂

  3. Hi Lydia! That is fantastic that you found a brand that doesn’t contain synthetic vitamin A. West Soy is a winner!

  4. Thank you, Rachel!

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