What are Fat Soluble Vitamins?

Some of the common fat soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, E, D, and K. As far as Vitamin A is concerned, it regulates your eyesight, hair and body growth. The deficiency of vitamin A can lead to blindness, hair loss, etc. Vitamin D helps in keeping your bones and immune system healthy. Lack of this nutrient leads to weaker muscles. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and keeps your cells safe and healthy. Deficiency of vitamin E can lead to eyesight problems, muscle weakness, etc. Vitamin K is a much-needed nutrient that helps in blood clotting and can stop wounds from bleeding continuously.

Lipid Soluble Vitamins

Fat Soluble Vitamins - Names, Functions & Deficiency Symptoms

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Benefits of Fat-soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins help in covering several nutrient deficiencies and perform a variety of critical body functions. Here are the benefits of fat-soluble vitamins:

Vitamin A Benefits

  • Preserves Vision: Vitamin A aids in the maintenance of eye vision and the formation of tear fluid
  • Body and hair growth: Vitamin A is essential for the growth of cells and hair

  • Fertility: Vitamin A helps maintain fertility levels and is key to fetal development in pregnant women

  • Immunity booster: Lack of immunity can trigger a host of infections in our body. Vitamin A helps in improving the immunity levels in the body

  • Treats Measles: Along with dietary sources of Vitamin A, its supplements may help treat measles in children and measles-linked pneumonia

Vitamin D Benefits

  • Bone Strength conservation: Vitamin D helps in the absorption and preservation of calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. Calcium and phosphorous are pivotal minerals that aid in bone growth and maintenance of bone density
  • Regulates Immunity: Vitamin D strengthens and regulates the immunity system of the body. Few vitamin D supplements also prolong human lives, especially those of elders when hospitalized or under the care

Sufficient intake of vitamin D also prevents respiratory tract infections

Vitamin E Benefits

  • Antioxidant: Prevents cell damage and helps in the maintenance of healthy skin and eyes
  • Longer cell life: Free radicals formed out of normal body processes like ageing may damage the cells. Vitamin E might help in reducing the free radicals damage and slow down the cell ageing process in the body

Vitamin K Benefits

  • Blood Coagulant: Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting preventing extreme blood loss in certain cases.
  • Reduces risk of heart disease: Vitamin K helps prevent calcification of blood vessels, potentially minimizing the chances of heart disease. Further, it also ensures maintain bone health

List of Fat-soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins can be sourced from foods containing fats and the list of fat-soluble vitamins consists of Vitamins A, D, E and K. Here are a detailed list of fat-soluble vitamins along with their sources and deficiency symptoms:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a group of fat-soluble compounds called retinoids. Its common dietary form is termed retinol.

Dietary Sources

  • Vitamin A is most commonly found in animal-sourced foods in the form of preformed retinol that is ready to use by the body

  • Animal-source foods rich in Vitamin A include liver, fish, cheese, milk, and other dairy products

  • Vitamin A is derived from plants is termed provitamin A

  • The most useful provitamin A is the beta-carotene, present in enough quantities in green, leafy veggies such as spinach, kale, and root vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, etc. 

Deficiency Symptoms

  • Common and early symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency include night blindness

  • As time progresses, more severe symptoms include dry eyes with reduced tear formation, total blindness, and poor immunity

  • Hair loss and skin problems are other symptoms caused due to Vitamin A deficiency 

Toxicity

  • Excessive doses of animal-based vitamin A supplements, fish oil, or liver oil may cause a condition called hypervitaminosis

  • Symptoms of toxicity or overdose include headache, fatigue, mouth and eye inflammation, joint pains, nausea, blurred vision, and so on

  • Consumption of extremely high doses of vitamin be fatal resulting in liver damage, loss of bone density, and hair loss

  • Children and people suffering from conditions of cirrhosis and hepatitis are at a greater risk of toxicity and extra care is needed

  • High doses of vitamin A are harmful to the fetus and have been linked to birth defects. So, pregnant women need to be extra cautious

Vitamin D

Also termed as Calciferol and nicknamed the Sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is available in two dietary forms – Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3

Dietary Sources

  • Vitamin D2: Also called Ergocalciferol is plant-based and commonly present in mushrooms, cereals, and plant-based milk

  • Vitamin D3: Known as cholecalciferol, Vitamin D3 is largely found in animal-based foods such as eggs, dairy, liver, and oily fish. It is also produced by our skin when exposed to sunlight 

Deficiency Symptoms

  • Osteoporosis or loss of bone density

  • Osteomalacia, a condition where bones tend to become soft and brittle increasing the chances of fractures

  • Rickets, seen in children, when the bones do not develop properly

  • Auto-immune disorders and high infection risk

  • Affects children and older adults who do not stay outdoors enough, and people living in places away from the equator 

Toxicity

  • High amounts of Vitamin D can lead to a spike in calcium levels in the blood that can cause hypertension, kidney or heart damage, low appetite and weight loss, nausea, and headaches

Vitamin E

Also named as Tocopherol, vitamin E fights against free radicals in the body that cause oxidative stress and cell damage resulting in cancers and tumours.

Dietary Sources

  • Available in plant-based sources such as peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, broccoli, mango, and kiwi fruit 

Deficiency Symptoms

  • Poor eye vision, reduced bodily movement, and coordination caused by damage of nerves and muscles, loss of immunity are common symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency

  • Affects people with a history of cystic fibrosis, a condition where the liver has a reduced capacity to absorb vitamin E 

Toxicity

  • Overdose of Vitamin E can be caused by intake of its supplements but never through natural sources

  • People who have been prescribed anticoagulant medicines may seek medical advice before taking Vitamin E supplements as they may interfere with blood-thinning

Vitamin K

Vitamin K performs the role of an anticoagulant, i.e., blood clotting. Without it, your body might run a risk of severe bleeding, resulting in death. Vitamin K is classified into two main groups- Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2

Dietary Sources

  • Vitamin K1: Mostly found in plant-sourced foods such as green and leafy vegetables, oils, and is the main form of Vitamin K in the diet

  • Vitamin K2: Found in limited amounts in animal-based foods and fermented foods such as soy, liver, egg yolks, and butter 

Deficiency Symptoms

  • Hemorrhaging is a common symptom since the blood cannot clot without a sufficient amount of Vitamin K in the body

  • Loss of bone density and increased risk of infections

  • People on antibiotics or vitamin A supplements are at a greater risk of Vitamin K deficiency

  • People suffering from diseases that reduce the absorption of fat in the body such as cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel syndrome are at greater risk of Vitamin K deficiency 

Toxicity

  • Contrary to other fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin K derived from natural sources is found to have caused zero toxicity

  • However, Vitamin K3, a synthetic form of Vitamin K may have some toxic effects on the body when taken in excessive amounts

Conclusion

Deficiency or overdose of fat-soluble vitamins in the body can have detrimental effects over the long haul resulting in life-threatening ailments. Along with relying on a well-balanced diet to stay secure from any vitamin deficiency, it is important to secure oneself with a holistic health insurance policy that can guard both your financial and physical health. Applying for a health insurance policy can be your best bet to meet rising medical costs while tackling health issues.

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