Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body for future use. This is because the body does not need a regular supply (unlike the water-soluble vitamins). These vitamins are mainly stored within fatty tissues and the liver to be used when the body requires them. One drawback to these types of vitamins is that when taken in excess they can accumulate to toxic levels. This makes controlling intake vitally important.
Inadequate or compromised absorption of fat (due to dietary or medical issues) can result in a deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins. Certain drugs (such as Orlistat – has the very purpose of preventing the absorption of fat) or illnesses (such as cystic fibrosis and other diseases affecting the pancreas and enzyme production) can have this effect.
Unsurprisingly, fatty foods are a good source of fat-soluble vitamins – examples include butter, oils, lard, oily fish (like salmon and mackerel), liver and dairy products. In contrast to the water-soluble vitamins, cooking does not damage fat soluble vitamins.
Examples of fat-soluble vitamins are:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K
The fat-soluble vitamins are soluble in lipids (fats). These vitamins are usually absorbed in fat globules (called chylomicrons) that travel through the lymphatic system of the small intestines and into the general blood circulation within the body.
Vitamin D is needed in order to keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Deficiencies in vitamin D can result in a weakened immune system, rickets, fatigue and bone pain to state a few issues so it’s very important to ensure that you are consuming the correct amounts.
Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant. Like vitamin C, Vitamin E also helps to maintain a strengthened immune system by maintaining the structure of cells by protecting the cell membranes.
Vitamin A helps with vision in poor light conditions and also involved with keeping your skin looking healthy helping to reduce your risk of acne.
Vitamin K plays vital roles in blood clotting, helping wounds heal in the right manner. Evidence also suggests it helps to keep your bones strong and healthy.