Human nutritional relevance and suggested nutritional guidelines for vitamin A5/X and provitamin A5/X

Torsten Bohn, Julian Hellman-Regen, Angel R. de Lera, Volker Böhm, Ralph Rühl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In the last century, vitamin A was identified that included the nutritional relevant vitamin A1 / provitamin A1, as well as the vitamin A2 pathway concept. Globally, nutritional guidelines have focused on vitamin A1 with simplified recommendations and calculations based solely on vitamin A. The vitamin A / provitamin A terminology described vitamin A with respect to acting as a precursor of 11-cis-retinal, the chromophore of the visual pigment, as well as retinoic acid(s), being ligand(s) of the nuclear hormone receptors retinoic acid receptors (RARs) α, β and γ. All-trans-retinoic acid was conclusively shown to be the endogenous RAR ligand, while the concept of its isomer 9-cis-retinoic acid, being “the” endogenous ligand of the retinoid-X receptors (RXRs), remained inconclusive. Recently, 9-cis-13,14-dihydroretinoic acid was conclusively reported as an endogenous RXR ligand, and a direct nutritional precursor was postulated in 2018 and further confirmed by Rühl, Krezel and de Lera in 2021. This was further termed vitamin A5/X / provitamin A5/X. In this review, a new vitamin A5/X / provitamin A5/X concept is conceptualized in parallel to the vitamin A(1) / provitamin A(1) concept for daily dietary intake and towards dietary guidelines, with a focus on the existing national and international regulations for the physiological and nutritional relevance of vitamin A5/X. The aim of this review is to summarize available evidence and to emphasize gaps of knowledge regarding vitamin A5/X, based on new and older studies and proposed future directions as well as to stimulate and propose adapted nutritional regulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Number of pages19
JournalNutrition and Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2023


  • Apo-carotenoids
  • Beta-carotene oxygenase
  • Nuclear receptors
  • Recommended dietary allowance
  • Visual cycle


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