How To Choose The Best Fat-Soluble Vitamins For Your Health Needs
Trying to stay healthy is often a full-time job. In addition to regular exercise, you need to get enough vitamins in your diet. And fat-soluble vitamins are some of the most powerful tools in your health arsenal.
Of course, the world of vitamins can get pretty confusing. Here is our complete guide for choosing the best fat-soluble vitamins.
What are vitamins?
Your entire life, you’ve heard that you need to get enough vitamins. But what exactly are vitamins?
Vitamins are basically the micronutrients that your body needs to do various things. Different vitamins support different roles, which is why there is such a variety of vitamins.
Many vitamins are water-soluble, but some are fat-soluble instead.
What are fat-soluble vitamins?
Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your fat and your liver. There are four kinds of fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K.
If you don’t get enough fat-soluble vitamins, you may suffer from a variety of deficiencies. But you must also avoid consuming too many of these vitamins because that could lead to toxicity within your body.
Be sure to consult with your physician before taking fat-soluble vitamin supplements.
What is vitamin A?
Vitamin A is known mostly for its effect on the eyes. However, it can also help your teeth develop and your bones grow. This vitamin can even help with things like reproductive health, gene expression, and your immune system.
Thanks to it being an antioxidant, vitamin A can also help protect against cancer.
Food sources for vitamin A
Aside from supplements, where can you get vitamin A? Sources of vitamin A include fish, liver, and dairy products. Other Vitamin A foods include anything with beta-carotene, such as carrots, pumpkin, winter squash, dark green leafy vegetables, and apricots. Your body will actually convert that beta-carotene to vitamin A.
How much vitamin A do we need?
As we said, it can be unhealthy to consume too many fat-soluble vitamins. How much, then, do you really need from day to day?
Generally, when it comes to vitamin A, men need 900 micrograms a day and women need 700 micrograms a day. Before you use supplements to increase your vitamin A intake, make sure you understand how much vitamin A is already part of your daily diet.
Vitamin A deficiency
What happens if you develop a vitamin A deficiency? If it’s bad enough, you may develop xerophthalmia, which can lead to blindness. You may also develop measles.
Too much vitamin A
How much Vitamin A is too much? The upper daily level is 3,000 micrograms per day. If you take too many daily supplements, it is easy to exceed that threshold. Certain medications may also affect your vitamin A levels and how those impact your body.
What is vitamin D?
What does vitamin D do for your body? It helps your body absorb and use both calcium and phosphorous. Vitamin D benefits include boosting immunity, encouraging cell growth, and fighting against things like osteoporosis, cancer, and high blood pressure.
Food sources for vitamin D
Milk and other dairy products are great vitamin D foods. However, sources of vitamin D also include oily fish, cod liver oil, and even sunlight.
How much vitamin D do we need?
The exact amount of vitamin D you need can change over time. Generally, though, you need 15 micrograms of this vitamin until you turn 50, and you need 20 micrograms of Vitamin D after the age of 50.
Vitamin D deficiency
What happens if you don’t get enough Vitamin D? In children, a deficiency may result in rickets. In adults, it may result in osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Vitamin D deficiency can also increase risk for hypertension, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
Too much Vitamin D
So, how much is too much when it comes to Vitamin D? Generally, you shouldn’t receive more than 100 micrograms of this vitamin per day. And too much vitamin D may lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and even calcium in the blood.
And despite those old commercials encouraging children to drink more milk, too much vitamin D can also impair both mental and physical development.
What is vitamin E?
What does vitamin E do? In addition to being an antioxidant, vitamin E benefits include protecting the vitamin A, vitamin C, fatty acids, and red blood cells in your body. This vitamin also helps protect against cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and more.
Food sources for vitamin E
Most of the vitamin E in our diets comes from vegetable oil (soybean, corn, safflower, or olive oil). So, salad dressing is a good source of vitamin E. Vitamin E foods also include avocados, dark green leafy vegetables, kiwifruit, sunflower seeds, almonds, shrimp, and trout.
How much vitamin E do we need?
How much vitamin E does your body need? Past the age of 14, both men and women need at least 15 micrograms per day.
Vitamin E deficiency
Here’s some good news: it’s pretty hard to develop a vitamin E deficiency. For the most part, it only occurs with premature infants and people who don’t get enough fats. This may include people who cannot absorb fats or people who go on very strict diets.
Too much vitamin E
And the good news continues: there is no magic number of micrograms that is too much vitamin E for one day. Instead, you just need to beware of supplements if you are on statin drugs or any kind of blood-thinning medication.
What is vitamin K?
Vitamin K comes from bacteria living inside your intestines. That may sound weird, but vitamin K benefits include stimulating bone health, blood clotting, and proteins for the rest of your body (such as bones, blood, and kidneys).
Food sources for vitamin K
What’s a good food source for vitamin K? Generally, any leafy-green veggies (including broccoli, cabbage, and spinach) are good sources of vitamin K. And vegetable oils like cottonseed oil and soybean oil are also good vitamin K foods.
How much vitamin K do we need?
How many micrograms of Vitamin K do you need? This number changes greatly based on age and gender. For example, adult men need 120 micrograms per day, and adult women need 90 micrograms per day.
Regardless of gender, children ages 1-3 need 30 micrograms; ages 4-8 need 55 micrograms; ages 9-13 need 60 micrograms; and ages 14-18 need 75 micrograms.
Vitamin K deficiency
A Vitamin K deficiency can lead to some really scary hemorrhaging. You may need supplements if you wish to avoid this, but if you are on blood thinners, don’t do anything to affect your Vitamin K intake until you consult your physician.
Too much Vitamin K
Regularly consuming an excessive amount of vitamin K may hurt both your liver and your red blood cells. Those on blood thinners or anticoagulants are at particular risk of consuming too much vitamin K.
As always, consult your physician before taking any supplements.