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A, D, E, and K – The Fat Soluble Vitamins

FatSolubleVitaminsJacquie Eubanks RN BSNInfluenced by their molecular properties, the solubility of nutrients determines how well they will be absorbed by the body. Whether a vitamin is soluble (dissolvable) in water or in lipids influences where it can be utilized and whether any excess will be excreted or stored. Water-soluble B-complex vitamins and antioxidant vitamin C are quickly and easily utilized; any excess intake is eliminated so daily replenishment is required. Not surprisingly, fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K require some dietary fat in order to be absorbed and metabolized. Excess intake of these nutrients is stored in the liver and the body’s fatty tissues until needed. Dietary fats are also required for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for numerous biological processes. Vitamins A, D and K cooperate synergistically, and also work in tandem with important essential minerals like magnesium, calcium and zinc.

Nutrient deficiencies are generally the result of dietary inadequacy, impaired absorption, increased requirement, or increased excretion. While a well-balanced diet containing a wide variety of nutrient dense whole foods can provide sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals, nutrient deficiencies are incredibly common. Unlike vitamins A, E and K that have multiple dietary sources, very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. As food sources are limited, a deficiency can occur when dietary intake is insufficient over a period of time. Since vitamin D is synthesized through skin exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, restricting sunlight exposure can also create a deficiency of this nutrient. Additionally, low serum levels of vitamin D can result from inadequate digestive absorption, or the inability of the liver and kidneys to complete the synthesis of vitamin D from ultraviolet light.

Vitamin A

Also known as retinol, antioxidant vitamin A is critical for the maintenance of normal vision, as well as the growth and specialization of virtually all bodily cells. Vitamin A has important roles in embryonic development, normal immune functions, red blood cell production and free radical scavenging. Naturally present in foods such as organ meats, salmon, dairy products and colorful fruits and vegetables, vitamin A is actually a group of nutritional organic compounds that include retinol, retinoic acid, and provitamin A carotenoids, most notably beta-carotene. Although it is best known for the ability to support eye health, vitamin A also helps to relieve inflammation and supports bone, immune, skin and tissue health.

Vitamin D

All vitamin D, whether obtained through sunlight exposure, diet or supplementation, is biologically inert. To become biologically active it and must go through conversion, first in the liver, then in the kidneys. As optimizing vitamin D levels is important to disease prevention and long term health maintenance, one must expose large amounts of skin to the proper amount of sunlight, or supplement with vitamin D3, a highly potent, quickly converted bioactive form. Actually considered a prohormone, vitamin D has the potential to provide numerous health benefits when adequate levels are maintained. Among its many functions are the facilitation of calcium, phosphate and magnesium absorption, cell growth modulation, and inflammation reduction, as well as immune and neuromuscular support. Vitamin D may play a role in protecting against certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, autoimmune diseases and depression. As many individuals either avoid sun exposure or block ultraviolet rays with sunscreen, supplementation with vitamin D3 may be a wise choice for those who with low serum levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin E

Required for the proper function of many organs, enzymatic activities and neurological processes, antioxidant vitamin E fights free radicals, helps reduce inflammation, and works to balance hormones naturally. Found in seeds, nuts, whole grains and some fruits and vegetables, vitamin E helps boost immunity and supports blood vessel health. Although more studies are needed, vitamin E may support cardiovascular health by helping to prevent platelet clumping and plaque buildup in blood vessels. Through its ability to fight the inflammation and oxidation linked to numerous health conditions, vitamin E may aid in the prevention of cataracts, arthritis and some cancers.

Vitamin K

Well known for its crucial role in proper blood clotting, vitamin K is also essential for building strong bones and preventing heart disease. Of the three types of vitamin K, K1, K2 and K3, natural vitamin K2 is synthesized in the digestive tract and is the form most often recommended for supplementation. Viewed as an important nutritional intervention for improved bone density, vitamin K2 aids the deposit of calcium and other important minerals into the bone matrix. Additionally, published research has indicated that optimum intake of vitamin K plays an important role in longevity. By aiding calcium placement in the bones, vitamin K helps to keep calcium deposits out of arteries and blood vessels, thereby preventing  arterial calcification, or atherosclerosis, that can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Primarily present in leafy vegetables, vitamin K can be found in fermented foods and animal products, such as meat and dairy.

It can be nutritionally challenging to get the macro- and micro-nutrients the body requires, particularly when one is elderly or dieting, or has illnesses, allergies, or dietary restrictions that require the elimination of entire food groups. The result of sub-optimal intake of nutrients is a sub-optimal state of health. RDA’s, known also as Daily Values (DV), are typically based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. With diet alone, the average American will fail to meet RDA’s for B vitamins, vitamin D, and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. Even those who consciously eat a nutritious diet each day may fall alarmingly short of their RDA’s for maintaining optimal health.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality nutritional supplements in support of overall health and longevity:

Comprehensive...Comprehensive Nutritional Panel by Spectracell Laboratories: Micronutrient testing offers an accurate, scientifically proven method of assessing nutritional deficiencies. This test measures 35 nutritional components including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and metabolites, as well as amino and fatty acids. Test kit, shipping labels and complimentary post-test consultation with Registered Nurse included.

 

Vitamin A 10,000 IUVitamin A 10,000 IU by Pure Encapsulations®: Largely derived from Norwegian cod liver oil, this product supplies an optimum amount of vitamin A per serving in support of healthy bodily function and maintenance. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Vitamin D 5,000 IUVitamin D 5,000 IU by Douglas Laboratories®: One tablet supplies 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 in support of calcium absorption, bone metabolism, and optimal health. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, sugar, yeast and artificial ingredient free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Natural Vitamin E...Natural Vitamin E Complex with Mixed Tocopherols by Douglas Laboratories®: One softgel provides 400 IU of pure, natural alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherols in support of free radical defense. Gluten and soy free formulation.

 

K2-7 plus D3K2-7 + D3 by Vital Nutrients: This synergistic formulation supports healthy serum calcium levels, healthy bone and calcium metabolism, and vascular elasticity. Gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, egg and sugar free formulation.

 

References:
Nutrients and Solubility. http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~edudev/LabTutorials/Vitamins/vitamins.html
Which Vitamins are Water Soluble and Fat Soluble. https://www.medicinenet.com/water_soluble_vitamins_vs_fat_soluble_vitamins/ask.htm
Vitamin D: A Hormone for All Seasons – How much is enough? Understanding the New Pressures. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240026/
The role of vitamin e in human health and some diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24790736