One of the goals of conducting our survey was to determine the prevalence of the detox setback condition people were encountering on a low vitamin A diet. Naturally, the primary goal was to see if we could spot any common factors that might be causing it.

As shown in the results, around 50% of people were reporting that their progress had stalled, and eventually, their overall health condition was slowly getting worse with time. But, others reported no such setback and stated they had made pretty good linear progress into better health. These mixed results were a bit of a paradox to me, and I didn’t understand why we saw such widely variable results. However, I felt it was important to highlight the failures, and not to overstate or focus on the successes. 

I also wondered why people on the now popular carnivore diet are not reporting the detox setback trap many people here reported on their low vitamin A diet. Maybe, it was just not being reported by the carnivore folks. But, I think it is probably just not happening very often. I think it is a beneficial side-effect of eliminating carbs and not consuming other foods that contain aldehydes while on that diet.

Up until recently, most of my attention on recovering from vitamin A toxicity has been just on eliminating vitamin A from the diet. I was hoping that would be sufficient to enable most people to recover. With that, I didn’t focus too much on the body’s detoxification processes and mechanisms. So, I think we are now moving into the next phase of understanding that process and what’s needed to make it more predictable and successful.

The alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes

Back in October, when I posted the survey results, I had speculated that cauliflower was contributing to the detox setback trap. I still think this is indeed at least partially correct. That’s because several people have now reported back that after dropping cauliflower, they’ve experienced significant improvements. But, it’s not just food sources of methanol and formaldehyde that can overload and mess with the body’s alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme systems. It’s also some of the most common prescription drugs. These drugs include the Statins, the SSRIs, and even over the counter pain killers such as Tylenol. Almost any drug that is metabolized by the liver is going to either interfere with the production of or directly compete for your dehydrogenase enzymes.

The B vitamins of thiamine and riboflavin

I had also speculated that some people might be running into a vitamin B deficiency condition. This was supported by most people on our survey reporting that they were not eating brown rice, or only having it occasionally. But, I was too quick to dismiss this concern when I learned about the new carnivore diet. My thinking about it was that surely the carnivore diet folks would be running into the same vitamin B deficiency issues too then. Except, what I missed is that since the B vitamins of thiamine and riboflavin are needed to metabolize carbohydrates, then the carnivore diet folks won’t be as nearly susceptible to such a deficiency.

Whereas, if people here are eating a lot of white rice and have inadequate sources of the B vitamins (particularly thiamine and riboflavin), they could run into a deficiency situation quite quickly. There’s also some good evidence that vitamin A toxicity increases the demand for the B vitamins. The B vitamins are involved in the process of building the ADH and ALDH enzymes. Additionally, some of the B vitamin deficiency symptoms overlap and mimic those of vitamin A toxicity. 

Now, with more feedback from people here, and based on the work from Dr. Garrett Smith, it is quite likely that some people here are running into a vitamin B deficiency. This scenario sure fits from a temporal perspective too. That’s because people here have reported hitting the detox setback in a matter of just a few weeks or a few months. In contrast, others have sailed right through on the low vitamin A diet for a year or more with no such setback.

Some good low vitamin A food sources of the B vitamins are black beans, brown rice, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, and coconut water. But, I know that many people are not able to tolerate beans; therefore, directly supplementing might be a better option for them.

I’m most certainly no expert on the B vitamins. Therefore, please use other sources of information, also consider looking into the work of Dr. Garrett Smith. Please contribute your thoughts and experiences on this topic here: