Fat soluble vitamins are nutrients your body requires in small amounts in your diet for optimum health. For good health and well-being, it is essential to get the vitamins, minerals and nutrition your body needs. There are two groups of vitamins: water soluble vitamins (B-complex and C) and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).
While water soluble vitamins require regular replacement in your body, and need to be part of your daily diet, fat soluble vitamins are stored in your liver and fatty tissues, so they are not needed to be replenished every day. FitDay can help you track your fat soluble vitamins.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins and dietary fat are absorbed from the small intestines, and stored in your liver and fatty tissues. Poor absorption of fat soluble vitamins can result in various diseases such as ulcerative colitis, cystic fibrosis and Crohn's disease. However, excess fat soluble vitamin absorption can also do your body harm. With the exception of vitamin K, fat soluble vitamins are usually excreted more slowly than water soluble vitamins, and vitamins A and D can accumulate and cause toxic effects in your body.
Eating a well-balanced diet should provide the amount of fat soluble vitamins your body needs, and will not usually lead to toxicity from fat-soluble vitamins. Toxicity can be caused by taking mega doses of vitamins A, D, E and K in vitamin supplements. Coconut oil is a safe source of fat soluble vitamins.
Vitamin A, also called retinol, helps your eyes adjust to light changes, and plays an important role in bone growth, tooth development, reproduction, cell division and gene expression. Also, your skin, eyes and mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat and lungs require vitamin A for moisture.
Good sources of vitamin A to add to your diet include:
- dairy products
Also, your body will convert beta-carotene found in fruits and vegetables into vitamin A. Good sources of beta-carotene include:
- dark green vegetables
Vitamin D is essential for your body's use of calcium and phosphorous. Vitamin D increases the amount of calcium absorbed from your small intestine, and it helps form and maintain your bones. It is especially important for children to get adequate amounts of vitamin D to develop strong bones and healthy teeth.
Vitamin D also aids the body with metabolism, and is important for weight loss and weight management.
You can increase the amount of vitamin D in your diet with:
- milk and other vitamin D-fortified dairy products
- cod liver oil
- oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and herring
Your body can also produce vitamin D through your skin in response to sunlight. However, with the high risk of skin cancers caused by the sun's harmful rays, it is better to use sunscreen than to try to soak up vitamin D rays with unprotected skin.
Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, and protects vitamins A and C, red blood cells, and essential fatty acids from destruction. Research has proven that antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can decrease your risk for heart disease, cancer and several other diseases.
Good sources of vitamin E to add to your diet include:
- vegetable oils
- whole grains
- vitamin fortified cereals
Vitamin K is produced naturally by the bacteria in your intestines, and plays an essential role in normal blood clotting. Vitamin K also helps to promote bone health.
Good sources of vitamin K to include in your diet are:
- soybean oil
- cottonseed oil
- canola oil
- olive oil
Eating a well-balanced diet that includes foods with fat soluble vitamins is important for good health! If you are not sure if you are getting enough fat soluble vitamins in your diet, ask your health care practitioner, nutritionist or dietician for advice.