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Know Everything About Fat Soluble Vitamins

Fat soluble vitamins are essential for efficient functioning of our organs and regular repairing of damaged cells and tissues. There are four distinct types of fat soluble vitamins – A, D, E and K. They are absorbed in the intestinal tract with the help of bile acids. Excess amount of fat soluble vitamins are stored in your liver and fatty tissues. Since your body keeps them stored for longer periods, they pose the risk of toxicity. Absorption of fat soluble vitamins follows the same path as fat, therefore impairment of fat digestion severely affects the absorption of fat soluble vitamins.

Since a balanced diet provides sufficient amounts of these vitamins, you need not take supplements until diagnosed with deficiency of a particular vitamin. Your body requires them in very small quantity.

Vitamin A (Retinol)

Vitamin A is extremely essential for night vision. It has antioxidant properties that protect body from free radicals, reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. Retinol is important for bone formation, reproduction and healthy skin. Equally significant in pregnancy and lactation.

Animal products such as eggs, liver, cheese and milk provide the active form of vitamin A (retinol) that is ready to be used in the body. The inactive form (beta-carotene) is found in fruits and vegetables, and converted into active form inside the body.

Deficiency of vitamin A causes night blindness, severe inflammation of eyes, sinusitis, stunted growth, and skin disorders such as acne, bumpy skin or boils. It’s deficiency also reduces the efficiency of your immune system.

Large amount of stored vitamin A is extremely harmful for expecting women and causes birth defects in infants. Other symptoms include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, itchiness, bone pain and liver damage.

Vitamin D (Calciferol)

Vitamin D, also referred to as sunshine vitamin, is very important for absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body. It is necessary for the formation and constant repair of bones and teeth.

Vitamin D is produced within the body when exposed to sunlight. Food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil and oily fishes (salmon, herring). Nowadays, milk and other dairy products are fortified with vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency causes weakness and softening of bones, known as rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. It is also linked with obesity, depression, hypertension and immune disorders.

Having too much of vitamin D in the body could cause hypercalcaemia (high calcium levels in blood), loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and renal and cardiovascular damage.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol)

It’s an excellent antioxidant. Tocopherol protects red blood cells, fatty acids and other essential nutrients from free radicals. Vitamin E helps you look younger and prevents degenerative diseases- diabetes, senility, heart disease and cancer.

Peanuts, oil, wheat grains, almonds, soybeans, margarines, avocado and sunflower seeds contain large amounts of vitamin E.

Since it is found in a large number of foods, dietary deficiency of vitamin E is very rare. The symptoms may include anemia, pre-mature ageing and sub-fertility. A short supply of vitamin E may cause acne, muscle disease, and spontaneous miscarriage.

Vitamin E is non-toxic under normal conditions. In severe cases, it may cause nausea, diarrhea, and digestive tract disorders.

Vitamin K (Phylloquinone)

The most important role of vitamin K is in blood clotting. It is essential for synthesizing different proteins and maintaining bone health.

Vitamin K is produced by micro-organisms in the intestine. Green leafy vegetables including spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and vegetable oils such as olive oil and soybean oil are good sources of vitamin K. Generally, animal foods do not contain this vitamin.

Insufficiency of vitamin k in body causes excessive bleeding. Whenever you have cuts or wounds, the blood doesn’t clot and bleeding continues. Protein synthesis is severely affected due to deficiency of this vitamin.

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