Fat soluble vitamins – benefits and sources
Fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. They are called fat soluble because the human body absorbs them only in the presence of fat using the fatty tissue. This fat soluble vitamins are stored in our bodies for a long periods of time. Because of that they increase the risk of toxicity when they are amount is more than necessary.
This fat soluble vitamin – vitamin D is also known as retinol. Vitamin A is mainly found in foods of animal origin. Its provitamins – beta carotene, alpha-carotene, cryptosanine, etc. are found predominantly in some products of plant origin. Beta carotene is considered as the most common type of all carotenoids and can be found in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin A is essential for bone development, good vision and normal skin and mucosal epithelial cells. This important fat soluble vitamins are also important for your teeth, the sexual system and for the normal functioning of human immune system. It is known that vitamin A and beta carotenes have a strong antioxidant effect.
Vitamin A deficiency which is one of the fat soluble vitamins may lead to delays in the growth of children and adolescents, vision decomposition. Dry and scaly skin are also signs of vitamin A deficiency as well as a weak immune system. Prolonged and inadequate medication, although rarely, may lead to hypervitaminosis Contraindications: decreased appetite, headache, skin damage, brittle bones, etc.
Overdose with beta-carotene is called carotinemia. The skin is yellowing, which is often mixed with jaundice, but in this condition the eye scars do not turn yellow. This condition is observed when large amounts of carrots or apricots are taken for a long time, as well as supplements containing provitamin A.
Sources of vitamin A – Bovine liver is an excellent source of fat soluble vitamins. Мilk and eggs are considered to be very good sources of this vitamin too. Vegetable foods that contain carotenoids are also sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A can also be obtained through milk, fish oil, peaches, apples, sprigs, plums, currants, tomatoes, peppers, most of citrus, pumpkin.
Recommended vitamin A daily doses:
- PE = retinol equivalents
- For men – not more than 9,000 micrograms PE
- For Women – not more than 7,500 micrograms PE
Infants – 900 micrograms PE
1-3 years – 1,800 μg PE
4-5 years – 3,000 μg PE
6-12 years – 4 500 μg PE
12-19 years – 6,000 μg PE
This vitamin encompasses a group of substances having anti-rheumatic action. Vitamin B helps for the absorption of phosphorus salts and calcium. It is more involved in their metabolism. Fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin D is very important for the process of formation of bone tissue. Because of that it is also important for growth, necessary for the synthesis of hormones in the adrenal and sexual glands.
The continuous vitamin D deficiency in infants and children may lead to rickets. When their bones become weak, they may become soaked and deformed. An unfavorable reflection also gives the musculature and the nervous system. In older caries, it is also a consequence of lack of vitamin D. People can get enough vitamin D from different foods and even from the sunlight.
This particular one of the fat soluble vitamins is formed in the human skin and is called cholecalciferol or Vitamin D3. Taking the vitamin through food or nutritional supplements is recommended because a large proportion of the population is not exposed enough in the sun, especially in the cold seasons of the year.
Recommended vitamin D daily doses: may vary by age. These are our general guidelines:
- infants from 0 to 12 months – 10 micrograms of vitamin D;
- from 1 to 70 years old – 15 micrograms;
- above 70 years old – 20 micrograms.
Tocopherol or Vitamin E
Vitamin E is from the family of fat soluble vitamins. Some members of this family are called tocopherols and include alpha-tocopherol, tocopherol beta, gamma-tocopherol and delta tocopherol. Other members of vitamin E family are so-called tocotrienols and include alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienol.
- Preventing oxidative stress – Vitamin E helps us to prevent oxidative stress by working together with a group of nutrients that prevent oxygen molecules from becoming too reactive. This group includes vitamin C, glutathione, selenium and vitamin B3;
- Maintaining healthy skin – Tocopherol directly protects our skin from ultraviolet radiation;
- Protection against bladder cancer – adequate intake of vitamin E results in a 50% reduction in the risk of developing bladder cancer;
- Food sources of vitamin E can help us to protect against prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. One form of fat soluble vitamin E, gamma-tocopherol but not alpha-tocopherol, prevents the spread of prostate cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. When receiving high doses of vitamin E through food it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 67%.
Sources of Vitamin E
Excellent sources of vitamin E are mustard, radish and sunflower seeds. One of the best sources of this vitamin are almonds and spinach. Good sources of vitamin E are parsley, cabbage, papaya, olives, pepper, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, tomatoes, blueberries and broccoli. We can feed vitamin E and corn and soybean oil, all kinds of nuts, lettuce, peas, green beans, aubergines, carrots. It is contained in blackberries and avocados. Animal products are generally poor of vitamin E.
The other name of this fat soluble vitamin is philoquinones. It participates in blood clotting and prevents bleeding. It is necessary for growth and stimulates the activity of smooth muscles. Vitamin K deficiency is rare.
The sources of Vitamin K are – spinach, dock, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, legumes, liver and eggs.
Intoxication is possible only when receiving overdoses of synthetic Vitamin K. When receiving large amounts of vitamin from natural sources it does not cause intoxication.
More information about fat soluble vitamins: