Vitamin A and Wound Healing

Roman Zinder, Rachel Cooley, Lucian G. Vlad, Joseph A. Molnar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Vitamin A is a general term for retinoids. Vitamin A deficiency leads to a variety of cutaneous manifestations. It also functions as a hormone through retinoic acid receptors altering the activity of multiple cell lines. Pancreatic vitamin A levels are critical for retinoid signaling and normal pancreatic control of glucose. Vitamin A deficiency is more common during infection, and supplementation reduces severe morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases. Vitamin A modulates activities at the cellular level and, via its interrelationship with hormones such as thyroid, insulin, and corticosteroids, has diffuse metabolic effects on the body. It plays an important role in all stages of wound healing. Vitamin A is known for its ability to stimulate epithelial growth, fibroblasts, granulation tissue, angiogenesis, collagen synthesis, epithelialization, and fibroplasia. Local (topical) and systemic supplementation with vitamin A has been proven to increase dermal collagen deposition. There are numerous animal studies and limited human studies regarding physiologic effect of vitamin A on acute or chronic wounds via systemic or topical administration. The most common use of vitamin A supplementation is to offset steroids’ effect. When considering supplementation, the potential benefits must be weighed against the risk of harm. Vitamin A toxicity can be critical and even result in death. The evidence for supplementation with vitamin A is currently limited to expert opinion and is not backed up by rigorous trials. There is an acute need for therapeutic trials with vitamin A supplementations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-849
Number of pages11
JournalNutrition in Clinical Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • dietary supplements
  • hypervitaminosis A
  • retinoids
  • vitamin A
  • wound healing
  • wounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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