Functions of fat-soluble vitamins

Functions of fat-soluble vitamins

  • Post category:WELLNESS
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Vitamins and minerals are essential micronutrients to regulate the functioning of our cells and internal organs. The deficiencies in the consumption of some essential nutrients can generate several health problems that we can avoid or heal through proper nutrition. That’s why it’s important to know what’s the function of each fat-soluble vitamin and in which aliment you can find them, so you can make sure that you and your family have the correct nutrition.

Fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fats and oils and are stored in fatty tissues (liver/ body fat). These types of vitamins are not absorbed or eliminated so easily, for this reason, their excess can be toxic. The ideal is to incorporate them naturally through food, so you don’t take the risk of an excessive dose.

Vitamin A (retinol)

– It’s important for sight and the proper functioning of the retina.

– It favors the maintenance of mucous membranes, soft tissues and the regeneration of the skin.

– Stimulates hair and nail growth.

– Promotes the development of bones, teeth and tooth enamel.

– Stimulates the immune system, promotes wound healing and prevents infections, particularly of the respiratory system.

– It’s an antioxidant, protects the body from free radicals and prevents degenerative diseases.

– Helps the reproductive organs: growth of ovules, sperm and hormonal stabilization.

Deficiencies in their consumption are usually caused by poor nutrition or poor absorption of fats. Vitamin A deficiencies lead to reduced night vision, corneal damage, desiccation of the eyeball, skin rashes, and reduced resistance to infection.

Foods that contain vitamin A: Beef, liver, fatty fish, dairy products (milk, butter, cheese), egg yolk, fortified cereals, green, orange or yellow fruits (papaya, mango, passion fruit, pineapple, melon, peaches, grapes), broccoli, peas, squash, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin D (calciphenol)

– Helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which is essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth, cartilage and bones.

– Facilitates mineralization and bone formation.

– Promotes the proper functioning of the parathyroid gland.

– Intervenes in processes of the immune system.

– Supports correct muscle function.

A deficiency in vitamin D would cause abnormal bone development, rickets in children, decalcification and osteomalacia in adults (weaknesses of the bones). It is common in Nordic countries due to the lower presence of sunlight, or in the case of women with permanent veils that impede their exposure to the sun.

Foods that contain vitamin D: fatty fish, fortified dairy products (butter, milk, yoghurt, cheese), egg yolk and the main source is exposure to sunlight. The body produces vitamin D after exposure to the sun: 15 minutes of exposure to the sun 3 times a week is recommended to produce the body’s requirements for this vitamin. It’s very difficult to get enough vitamin D only from food sources.

Vitamin E (tocopherol)

– It is an antioxidant, it protects cells from oxidation, especially from the nervous, muscular and cardiovascular systems.

– Helps the body form red blood cells.

– Improves the health of the circulatory system and the opening of blood vessels

– Prevents the formation of blood clots, compensating vitamin K.

– Prevents arteriosclerosis, cancer and muscle degeneration.

– Helps to keep a strong immune system.

– It’s important for the health of the retina.

Deficiencies are usually due to lipid malabsorption. Its deficit generates oxidative and cellular damage, sterility in men, abortions in women, muscle atrophies, nerve degenerations, weakness, loss of balance and coordination, damage to sensory nerves and the retina of the eye.

Foods that contain vitamin E: vegetable oils (olive, sunflower), green vegetables (asparagus, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli), mango, avocado, apple, whole grain cereals, wheat germ, soy lecithin, olives, nuts, egg, butter and margarine.

Vitamin K1 and K2 (filokinone and menakinone)

– It is essential in the blood clotting process.

– It favors the health of the bones, since it intervenes in the assimilation of calcium and vitamin D.

– Prevents cardiovascular diseases.

A deficiency would cause increased clotting times and bleedings.

Foods that contain vitamin K: green leafy vegetables (spinach, chard, celery, watercress, parsley, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce), potatoes, tomatoes, vegetable oils (soy), fruits (blueberries, grapes, green apples, plums and figs), meat, cheese, cereals, wheat germ, soy, tea, egg yolk, walnuts, pine nuts, salmon, shrimp and tuna. Also, the intestinal flora endogenously synthesizes vitamin K.

Vitamin intake becomes particularly important in growing and developing children. If we want them to have good health, it’s essential to pay special attention to their diet. For this reason, child malnutrition is so serious, it generates problems in physical and mental development. Even when vitamin deficiencies are later reversed, the damage to the body can be permanent. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies make children vulnerable, as their immune systems are weakened and their organs do not function properly. It’s in our hands to take the responsibility of feeding ourselves and our family with all the essential nutrients.

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