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Fat and Water Soluble Vitamins Explained

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Water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins are nutrients your body needs in your diet for you to stay healthy. For optimal health, it is important to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs--either through a balanced, nutritious diet, health supplements, or both. Your body requires two kinds of vitamins: fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and water soluble vitamins (B-complex and C).

Water soluble vitamins, which are highly soluble, require daily replenishment in your body. Fat soluble vitamins, which are also essential for your health and stored in your liver, do not need to be replaced every day.

The Importance of Fat Soluble Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps your eyes adjust to light changes, and plays an important role in bone development, tooth development, cell division, gene expression and reproduction. Your eyes, skin, and mucous membranes of your nose, mouth, throat and lungs all require vitamin A for moisture.

Fish, liver, and low-fat dairy products are healthy sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A can also be converted from beta carotene found in most fruits and vegetables, including dark green vegetables, pumpkins, carrots and apricots.

The Importance of Fat Soluble Vitamin D

Vitamin D is required for your body's use of calcium and phosphorous. Vitamin D helps to form and maintain your teeth and bones, and increases the amount of calcium that your small intestine absorbs. Vitamin D is also important for weight management because it helps your body with metabolism.

You can add vitamin D into your diet with milk and other vitamin D-fortified dairy products, as well as cod liver oil, fish oil, and oily fish including herring, salmon and sardines.

The Importance of Fat Soluble Vitamin E

Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant, protects vitamin C, vitamin A, red blood cells, and essential fatty acids from being destroyed.

Healthy sources of vitamin E include vegetables, fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fortified cereals.

The Importance of Fat Soluble Vitamin K

Vitamin K is produced by your body naturally, and is important role for blood clotting. Vitamin K also contributes to healthy bones and teeth. Good sources of vitamin K include broccoli, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, olive oil, soybean oil, and canola oil.

The Importance of Water Soluble Vitamin B-Complex

There are eight water-soluble vitamins known as B-complex vitamins: thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid. Vitamin B-complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, good vision, a healthy nervous system and the formation of red blood cells.

Enriched grain products, whole grains, and vitamin supplements are good sources of B-complex vitamins.

The Importance of Water Soluble Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to hold your body's cells together, aids with the healing process, helps with tooth and bone development, strengthens the walls of your blood vessels, improves iron absorption, and is essential for your immune system to function properly. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, and may decrease the risk of heart disease and some cancers.

The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits including grapefruits, oranges and kiwis. Red and green peppers are also healthy sources of vitamin C.

Are You Getting Enough Vitamins?

If you are not sure if you are getting enough water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins in your diet, it is recommended that you seek advice from a health care professional.

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