How much vit A in Soylent?


According to the Wikipedia page for Soylent, there’s 5,000 IU of vitamin A in Soylent. Is this correct? The RDI is 3,000 for men and lower for women, and high amounts of vitamin A has been linked to osteoporosis.


@MattCauble should be able to answere this I believe


Soylent has the 100% RDA of Vitamin A as identified by the National Institute of Health which, for an adult male, is 3000 IUs which is 900 micrograms of effective Retinol Activity Equivalents.

“Vitamin A (900ug) from Retinyl palmitate (1636ug) - This vitamin is important for cellular growth and communication, the immune system, and vision. Perhaps best known for it’s role in helping to maintain healthy vision, an active form of vitamin A called retinol is a cofactor that binds to the opsin protein to create rhodopsin (the protein responsible for absorbing light in the eye, allowing us to see). Deficiency in vitamin A is common among children in the developing world can often lead to blindness. Promisingly, “Golden” rice has recently been engineered to synthesize Vitamin A and may serve to reduce this common deficiency in the developing world.”


All-trans retinyl palmitate (1 microgram) = 0.55 Vitamin A (microgram RAE) = 1.82 Vitamin A activity (IU).

So 1636*.55 =899.8 micrograms or approximately 900.

Other info I find helpful:

For Vitamin A, One International Unit (I.U.)
= 0.3 mcg. of retinol
= 0.6 mcg. of beta-carotene
= 1.2 mcg. of other total mixed carotenoids with vitamin A activity

I hope this clear things up!

ADD: I believe we have switched to the FDA recommendation of 5,000 IU’s of RAE Vitamin A. I will update here soon and you should see an update on our FAQ page as well.


EDIT: Sorry, so that’s 5,000 IU of vitamin E, not A? Or did you miswrite? Accoring to Wikipedia, it’s 30 IU of vit E, and the RDI is 20, with 1,000 as max. I’m guessing you meant vit A?

So here’s why I’m worried about 5,000 IU of vit A:

The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A is 700 μg (2330 IU) for women and 900 μg (3000 IU) for men, corresponding to values of 7.8 (women) and 8.0 (men) in the log-transformed retinol variable used in the regression analyses. These values are close to the retinol levels found to be associated with peak BMD and bone maintenance in this study. The tolerable upper intake level (UL), the highest level of daily vitamin A intake likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects, is 3000 μg (10,000 IU) for adults. The UL refers exclusively to retinol because β-carotene has not been shown to cause hypervitaminosis A.(28,36) The analyses in this study suggest that increasing retinol intake may have a detrimental effect on bone at retinol levels not far in excess of the RDA and considerably lower than the UL.

Link to the study


The wikipedia wrong it seems. It is not Rosa Labs that wrote that page, so the people who did used faulty information or outdated


I wanted to say that Soylent wiki is made of people


But MattCauble said: “I believe we have switched to the FDA recommendation of 5,000 IU’s of RAE Vitamin E. I will update here soon and you should see an update on our FAQ page as well.”

Clearly he didn’t mean vitamin E, since:
1: The RDI of vit E is 20 IU, so 5,000 IU would be ridiculous.
2: He measured it in RAE, which is “Retinol Activity Equivalents”. Retinol = vitamin A.

I interpret this comment as saying they have switched from 3,000 IU vit A to 5,000 IU, and the “vitamin E” thing was a typo. But I’m sure we’ll see an explanation soon.


Hmm yes he must have made a mistake there. Lets see what he says :slight_smile:


Sorry, yes I meant Vitamin A. I have corrected this.

And in response to your quote:

“A intake likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects, is 3000 μg (10,000 IU) for adults.”

When running this test they most likely ran a dose ranging study that measures the efficacy of the substance at different levels as well as safety. If they found some unsafe level, then they would report that the safety level would be 1/10-1/100 of that level which is industry standard. In other words 10,0000 IU is incredibly safe for anyone who doesn’t suffer from specific allergies to Vitamin A. I looked through the study you linked to but could not find the protocol for the safety test so I am making this assumption based on pharma standards.


Unless I’m reading the study wrong, this study did not propose the 10,000 IU max. Rather, this is the existing guidline (or was when the study was written), but the results show that vitamin A is associated with lower bone density well below that line. In fact, there’s a peak at 2,000 IU and more than that has adverse effects. All the graphs show this peak, and 5,000 is well ahead of that peak. Here are some more quotes to illustrate:

For both women and men, increasing retinol intake was associated initially with higher BMD and BMD change values (less bone loss), but after peaking between retinol values of 2000-2800 IU, BMD and BMD change subsequently decreased with further increases in retinol intake.

We found increasing retinol intake to be associated with lower BMD and greater bone loss at high retinol levels. This finding is consistent with previous Swedish studies that reported lower BMD and increased hip fracture incidence among women with the highest retinol intakes,(15) as well as with the recent report of elevated hip fracture risk among women in the United States Nurses’ Health cohort with high retinol intakes.(21) These observations are consistent also with biological and animal studies.

In conclusion, the inverse U-shaped association of retinol intake with BMD and bone maintenance observed in this cohort raises the concern that either too little or too much retinol may adversely affect bone health and suggests an optimal retinol intake range, which in this study coincided with RDA values. The negative association of retinol with BMD and bone maintenance found at the high retinol levels commonly reached by the U.S. elderly taking supplemental retinol has important implications. Ensuring adequate retinol intake clearly is desirable and appears to be an important issue among the elderly, but the potential for retinol to have detrimental effects on skeletal health at levels not far beyond the RDA suggests the need for careful attention to control of excessive retinol fortification and supplementation.

Unless there has been newer findings that refute this study, I can only interpret this as saying that an intake of 5,000 IU of vitamin A will reduce bone density and increase the risk for hip fractures in the elderly. This would indicate that there are detrimental effects well below the 10,000 IU “safety” level. I don’t understand the purpose of such a large amount of vitamin A.

EDIT: Of course, if you used beta-carotene instead of retinol, this would be no problem, I’m guessing because the body stops converting it to retinol once an adequate level has been reached, but that’s my guess.


Another factor we have to consider in producing our product is shelf stability. In order to get a 2 year shelf life approved with the FDA, a test must be run after 2 years (or simulated time) and the vitamin/mineral levels must meet the label claims at a minimum. So while our label claims 100% at 3000IU’s our formula must contain 1.5-2x overage. In other words, the FDA will not penalize a product for being over but will if at any point in its stable shelf life it is under.


Does that mean there are more things that are present in higher doses than is printed on the label? Is there any chance we could get to know the real nutrient levels that Soylent contains when delivered? Most people don’t wait two years until they consume it, and especially if I’m is combining Soylent with other food, I’d want to know the actual amounts so I’m not going over safe limits. Especially since there can be adverse health effects below the UL in some cases.

It worries me if I can’t trust the nutrition values printed on the label.


I’ll second @ari’s concern, though directed at the FDA in general. … so to confirm, the % daily values are the amount after 2 years and the real amount we consume is higher?


That is indeed the case. I will talk to our lawyers to see if we are legally allowed to release this information. My concern is that if we say anywhere that this is how much is in Soylent, then the FDA tests that claim then we get in trouble. I just need to see what is permitted in messaging and where.


Thanks for doing the legal dance. Its just kind of annoying that the FDA makes it so you have to jump those hoops.

Maybe the middle ground would be to give a range? I.E., we start with this much, but after X amount of time, in FDA tests the numbers are closer to this much. A range would be good enough for my purposes.


Is the 2 year shelf life optional, or required? I don’t see the average Soylent consumer keeping their Soylent on the shelf for 2 years. I do see doomsday preparers having small warehouses full of Soylent though.


If the FDA prohibits you from releasing information on what Soylent actually contains, that’s like, the pinnacle of irony.


I think most things have such different amounts for the RDA and Max intake that you’ll be fine even if Soylent is 3x everything. Remember that these are sustained intakes that matter, and it’s hard to need 2 grams of something, but for 3 grams to be toxic.


I think the “Range” suggestion by @livingparadox sounds like a great idea… one that even FDA should support. @MattCauble

“Vitamin A: 15-20mg” as an example.


@MattCauble Any update on this? I just received my Soylent, and the idea that I could be consuming 3x the RDI of something is disconcerting