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Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Quick Facts...
Small amounts of vitamins A, D, E and K are needed to maintain good health.
Foods that contain these vitamins will not lose them when cooked.
The body does not need these every day and stores them in the liver when not used.
Most people do not need vitamin supplements.
Mega doses of vitamins A, D, E or K can be toxic and lead to health problems.

Vitamins are essential nutrients your body needs in small amounts for various roles in the human body. Vitamins are divided into two groups: water-soluble (B-complex and C) and fat-soluble (A, D, E and K). Unlike water-soluble vitamins that need regular replacement in the body, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues, and are eliminated much more slowly than water-soluble vitamins.

Because fat-soluble vitamins are stored for long periods, they generally pose a greater risk for toxicity than water-soluble vitamins when consumed in excess. Eating a normal, well-balanced diet will not lead to toxicity in otherwise healthy individuals. However, taking vitamin supplements that contain mega doses of vitamins A, D, E and K may lead to toxicity. Remember, the body only needs small amounts of any vitamin.

While diseases caused by a lack of fat-soluble vitamins are rare in the United States, symptoms of mild deficiency can develop without adequate amounts of vitamins in the diet. Additionally, some health problems may decrease the absorption of fat, and in turn, decrease the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. Consult your doctor about this.

Vitamin facts

Source Physiological Functions Deficiency Overconsumption

Vitamin A

Vitamin A:
liver, vitamin A fortified milk and dairy products, butter, whole milk, cheese, egg yolk.
 
Pro-vitamin A:
carrots, leafy green vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, apricots, cantaloupe.

Helps to form skin and mucous membranes and keep them healthy
Increasing resistance to infections
Essential for night vision
Promotes bones and tooth development.
Beta carotene is an antioxidant and may protect against cancer.
Reproduction & cell division and gene expression
Mild:
Night blindness
Diarrhea
Intestinal infections
Impaired vision

Severe:
inflammation of eyes
keratinization of skin and eyes
Blindness in children.
Mild:
Nausea
Irritability
Blurred vision

Severe:
Growth retardation
Enlargement of liver and spleen
Loss of hair
Bone pain
Increased pressure in skull
Skin changes
Vitamin D

Vitamin D-fortified dairy products fortified margarine, fish oils, egg yolk. Synthesized by sunlight action on skin.

Promotes hardening of bones and teeth

Increases the absorption of calcium.
Severe:
Rickets in children
Osteomalacia in adults
Mild:
Nausea
Weight loss
Irritability
Severe:
Mental and physical growth retardation
Kidney damage
Movement of calcium from bones into soft tissues.
Vitamin E

Vegetable oil, margarine, butter, shortening, green and leafy vegetables, wheat germ, whole grain products, nuts, egg yolk, liver.

Protects vitamins A and C and fatty acids
Prevents damage to cell membranes
Antioxidant
Almost impossible to produce without starvation

Possible anemia in low birth-weight infants.
Nontoxic under normal conditions.
 
Severe:
Nausea
Digestive tract disorders
Vitamin K

Dark green leafy vegetables
Liver
Also made by bacteria in the intestine.

Helps blood to clot. Excessive bleeding. None reported.

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