Home > Food > General Nutrition > Vitamins and Supplements > Fat-Soluble Vitamins
|

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

In This Article:

Page 2

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D plays an indispensable role in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. In fact, vitamin D is responsible for the body's absorption and utilization of the mineral calcium. Insufficient amounts of this key vitamin can lead to serious bone abnormalities, including rickets in children (bones that are soft and malformed) and osteoporosis or osteomalacia (softening of the bones) in adults.

Recently, vitamin D has also received a lot of attention for reasons that go far beyond bone health. Research indicates that vitamin D may help prevent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Type 1 diabetes. It may also be a factor in decreasing your risk for cancer of the colon, breast, and prostate.

Food for Thought

The adequate intake (AI) for vitamin D is given in micro-grams, while the vitamin D in food and supplements is usually measured in international units (IU). The conversion is one microgram = 40 IU.

Food for Thought

Your body synthesizes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, but too much sun may also increase your risk for skin cancer, wrinkles, and age spots.

Because of its potential to help prevent these diseases, several experts think we should be taking in a good deal more vitamin D than the current RDA. In fact, they recommend a whopping 1,000 IU per day! This is well below the tolerable upper limit (UL) of 2,000 IU per day, but some health professionals worry that 1,000 IU may still be too much. Remember—vitamin D is fat-soluble, and therefore can be stored in the body where it may build up to toxic levels. Some of the symptoms of excess vitamin D include drowsiness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headaches, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fragile bones, and calcium deposits throughout the body (including heart, kidneys, and blood vessels).

Your best bets for getting enough vitamin D:

  • Allow yourself 5–15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure on your hands and arms every day (more if you are darker-skinned). Of course, if you have a history of skin cancer, you must talk to your physician before exposing yourself to UV rays.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin D, such as fortified milk, tuna, salmon, and canned sardines and mackerel.
  • Take a daily multivitamin that contains 400–800 IU of vitamin D.

Vitamin E (Tocopherols)

Vitamin E aids the formation and functioning of your red blood cells, muscles, and other tissues, and protects essential fatty acids (special fats that are needed by your body). Because vitamin E is found in a variety of foods, deficiency is rare. However, an extreme case of vitamin E deficiency involves wasting of the muscles and neurological disorders. To date, there have been no shown toxic effects from taking doses well over the RDA.

Foods rich in vitamin E include vegetable oils, salad dressings, whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, and wheat germ.

Vitamin K

Thanks to vitamin K, you won't bleed to death after an injury. That's because vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting. Current research also suggests that this vitamin might play a role in maintaining strong bones in the elderly. Where do you get this vitamin? Interestingly enough, bacteria that live in your intestines help to make 80 percent of the vitamin K that you need, and the rest can be found in a variety of foods listed here.

A vitamin K deficiency can cause hemorrhaging (uncontrollable bleeding), mainly in newborn infants because their immature intestinal tracts might not have enough bacteria to make this vitamin. In addition, people taking antibiotics might temporarily lose the ability to make vitamin K because the medication destroys all bacteria, good and bad.

Foods rich in vitamin K include turnip greens, cauliflower, spinach, beef liver, broccoli, kale, and cabbage.



<< Previous: Page 1
|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition © 2005 by Joy Bauer. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


highlights

Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks