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Understanding The Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Understanding The Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are those that can dissolve in fats and oils. They are absorbed along with the fat in the diet and can be stored in the body's fatty tissue. 

The fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E and K.

Vitamin A, E and K can be received through food sources, but sunshine is the main source for Vitamin D.

Vitamin A is an important nutrient that aids healthy vision and builds immunity. You can classify Vitamin A dietary sources into plant and animal sources. Vitamin A from animal sources provide retinoids, that can be used directly by the body as vitamin A. Plant sources however provide carotenoids, that the body can convert into Vitamin A. 

The recommended dosage of Vitamin A ranges between 400mcg/day1 (for infants) - 900mcg/day (for adults). 

Deficiency of Vitamin A could lead to vision problems and possibly vision loss. Some of the sources of Vitamin A are milk and dairy products, carrots, cantaloupe, black-eyed peas, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables, sweet potato.

Vitamin D is a unique vitamin that not many people receive perfectly well. It is also known as the Sunshine Vitamin” because it is naturally absorbed by the body with exposure to sunlight. The best time to receive Vitamin D is during mid-day. Vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphates, among the other nutrients in the body.

The recommended dosage of Vitamin D ranges between 10 mcg/day2 (for infants) - 15 mcg/day (for adults).

Deficiency of Vitamin D could lead to osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rickets and even increases the risk of infection.

Some of the sources of Vitamin D are fortified dairy products, plant-based milk, and cereals, oily fish and fish oils, and eggs.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help the body destroy free radicals, that causes oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to cancer and other diseases. Vitamin E also boosts the immune system and dilates the blood vessels, thereby reducing the risk of clotting. Apart from this, Vitamin E is known to aid hair growth and healthy skin. There are eight forms of vitamin E, but only “alpha-tocopherol” is used by the body, while the rest is excreted.

The recommended dosage of Vitamin E ranges between 4 mg/day3 (for infants) - 15mg/day (for adults).

Deficiency of Vitamin E is rarely seen but can lead to nerve and muscle damage affecting movement and coordination, vision problems, or even a weakened immune system.

Some of the sources of Vitamin E are nuts, spinach and broccoli, and sunflower seeds and oil.

Vitamin K helps the body enhance bone health, form blood clots, and reduce the buildup of calcium in the blood. There are several groups of Vitamin K, but Vitamin K-1 (phylloquinone) and Vitamin K-2 (menaquinone) are the most common groups. Vitamin K-1 is found in green and leafy vegetables, while Vitamin K-2 is found in animal sources and fermented foods.

The recommended dosage of Vitamin K ranges between 2 mcg/day4 (for infants)- 120mcg/day (for adults).

The deficiency of Vitamin K leads to excess bleeding and low bone density.

Some of the sources of Vitamin K are kale, spinach, parsley, butter, egg yolks, and liver.

Most of the fat-soluble vitamins are received through food sources, but there could be a lapse sometimes and a person might not receive the required nutrients therein. In such cases, a physician or a doctor may prescribe supplements to help replenish the nutrients in the body.  

Ref:

1 - https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
2 - https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
3 - https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
4 - https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminK-HealthProfessional/
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