Vitamin A is a group of similar molecules that includes retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid. Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A that first needs to be converted to retinal by the enzyme BCMO1. If your copies of BCMO1 have non-functional polymorphisms, then beta-carotene will not be used to make Vitamin A and you must get it in your diet through animal sources or supplementation.

23andMe assesses 22 snps on the gene BCMO1. Of these, several have been implicated in decreasing BCMO1 activity:


Vitamin A metabolism is a complex topic with many genes involved, however BCMO1 is critical for us to form useable vitamin A from beta-carotene. If your versions of the gene have risk alleles present, then your requirement for Vitamin A may be increased and supplementation may be wise.