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Fat-Soluble Vitamins


Fat-soluble vitamins are carried in the bloodstream attached to fats. The body stores fat-soluble vitamins, so you don't need regular amounts as much as you do with water soluble vitamins.


Vitamin A


Vitamin A is best known for its role in eyesight. But it is also important for healthy skin, and the mucous membranes of the body - mouth, lungs and intestines. It plays a role in the body's immunity, growth of bones, production of red blood cells, and the lining of nerve cells. In the form of carotenoids, which are mainly found in fruits and vegetables, vitamin A is an antioxidant. Beta carotene is one of the more familiar antioxidants, or carotenoids that convert to vitamin A.
Good food sources: Two categories of sources: 1) in the form of retinol from foods of animal origin - liver, eggs, milk fortified with vitamin A; 2) in the form of carotenoids that convert to vitamin A in the body - orange, red, yellow and dark-green leafy vegetables.


Vitamin D


Vitamin D is essential for increasing the absorption of calcium into the body. It also regulates the breakdown of calcium and phosphorus and promotes the growth of strong bones. Most of the intake of vitamin D is not from food, it's from the action of sunlight (ultraviolet light), which forms vitamin D in the skin. With enough sunlight, there is no need for vitamin D.
The NAS report in 1997 indicated a higher need for vitamin D than previously given because people are not being exposed to as much sunlight today, and many people use sunscreen when they are in the sunlight. An even higher need is recommended for older adults because they might not be as efficiently converting vitamin D from sunshine. They should either take a multivitamin that provides enough vitamin D or take a calcium supplement that is fortified with vitamin D.
Good food sources: Fortified milk, egg yolks, butter, liver.


Vitamin E


Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to prevent damage to cells, which may reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease. There are several forms of vitamin E. These are various forms of tocopherols. The most active is alpha-tocopherol. According to the American Diabetes Association, studies show that vitamin E levels are variable in people with diabetes. There are thus far no studies that confirm that vitamin E supplementation has any benefit in people with diabetes. It is noted that more studies are required before any recommendation for supplementation is made.
Good food sources: Foods that are high in unsaturated fats - vegetable oil, margarine and salad dressing; nuts, seeds and wheat germs; unprocessed grains.


Vitamin K


Vitamin K is important for normal blood clotting and to create proteins. Vitamin K can be obtained from nonfood sources - bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract make vitamin K.
Good food sources: Green leafy vegetables - spinach, broccoli, kale, greens; cabbage, egg and milk.



View Article on Water-Soluble Vitamins

View Article on Minerals


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