What Does It Mean If A Supplement Is Fat-Soluble?

There are two types of supplements: ‘fat-soluble’ or ‘water-soluble.’ A vitamin is classified as such depending on how it is absorbed, stored, and removed from the body. Both categories are relevant and determine how the supplement will affect the body.

Fat-soluble supplements are soluble in lipids. These vitamins are absorbed in fat and travel throughout the lymphatic system and then into the general blood circulation. Fat-soluble supplements are stored in body tissues and tend to stay there. That being said, it can be hazardous if a person takes too much of a fat-soluble vitamin. Too much of the supplement present in the body can cause a condition called hypervitaminosis. If your fat intake is low or if it is compromised due to certain medications or diseases, you most likely will require a fat-soluble supplement.

Fat-Soluble Supplements And Their Benefits?

Each type of fat-soluble vitamin promotes different functions in the body. These supplements can come from animal and plant foods, or dietary vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble.

Vitamin A

When it comes to maintaining healthy vision and the immune system, vitamin A is an essential daily supplement. It is a collection of compounds called retinoids that are found in both food sources and the human body. Vitamin A can be found in the liver of animals, fish oil, butter, carrots, kale, and spinach. Vegetarians are at high risk of vitamin A deficiency due to their restrictive diet. Some signs of vitamin A deficiency include dry eyes, hair loss, blindness, skin problems, and reduced immune function.

Vitamin D

Your body naturally produces vitamin D if you are regularly exposed to sunlight. For those who spend little time outdoors or stay entirely clothed, may require a vitamin D supplement. Generally, individuals should rely on their diet to ensure they are getting enough vitamin D. The best sources of vitamin D are fish oil supplements, fatty fish, dairy, and mushrooms. Mild forms of vitamin D deficiency are common especially in the elderly. Risk factors include obesity, age, low sun exposure, and diseases that prevent fat absorption. Without supplementing vitamin D in your diet, you run the risk of soft bones, weak muscles, autoimmune diseases, and reduced immune function. Symptoms of deficiency include depression, slow wound healing, fatigue, and hair loss. Regularly taking a vitamin D supplement can reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays a vital role in preventing blood clotting. It is a group of fat-soluble compounds that are formed into two groups. Vitamin K1 is the primary form and is found in plant-based foods. Vitamin K2 is found in fermented soy products and animal-sourced foods. Vitamin K is beneficial in supporting bone health and reducing the risk of heart disease. The best sources of vitamin K are found in leafy green vegetables, soy, egg yolks, liver, and butter. A diet lacking in vitamin K can cause you to become deficient within one week. Those who have celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease have a higher risk of becoming vitamin K deficient. A high dose of vitamin A and a wide range of antibiotics can reduce vitamin K absorption. Low levels of vitamin K are linked to decreased bone density and increased risk of fractures.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from premature aging and free radical damage. Alpha-tocopherol is the most common type of vitamin E found in the blood. Vitamin E protects fatty acids in your cell membranes from free radical damage by preventing oxidative stress. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E can be enhanced by combining it with vitamin C, selenium, and vitamin B3. It acts as a blood thinner preventing clotting. The best sources of vitamin E can be found in seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, avocados, fatty fish, peanut butter, and margarine. Deficiency is uncommon in those who are healthy. It is often found in those who cystic fibrosis, liver disease, and other diseases that impair the absorption of fat. Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency include vision problems, numbness, reduced immune function, muscle weakness, and tremors. Long-term deficiency can lead to blindness, dementia, anemia, severe neurological disorders, heart disease, and the inability to control body movements.

What Are Water-Soluble Supplements?

Water-soluble vitamins are not absorbed by the body and should be taken daily. Some common fat-insoluble supplements include mimosa pudica, vitamin B, and C. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, and they can be destroyed by heat or by being exposed to the air. Water-soluble supplements can also be lost in water when used for cooking. Boiling food will lose many of the essential daily vitamins and nutrients we need. The best way to consume water-soluble foods is to grill or steam them or add supplementation.

Vitamin B

The first vitamin to be described scientifically was vitamin B1, also known as thiamine. Many B vitamins act as a coenzyme in the body and are vital at helping convert nutrients into energy. The best sources of vitamin B include pork, liver, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Vitamin B deficiency is uncommon except for those who have high blood sugar or suffer from alcoholism due to poor diet. Low levels of vitamin B can cause anorexia, impaired neural function, weight loss, muscle weakness, heart enlargement, and mental disorders. Vitamin B is considered safe, and there are no harmful side effects when consuming high amounts of thiamine from supplements or food.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is crucial for healthy development and growth. It is needed to form an essential protein used to make tendons, blood vessels, skin, and ligaments. It helps repair and maintains teeth, bones, and cartilage. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that blocks damage caused by free radicals to help prevent heart disease, aging, and cancer. Vitamin C supplements that are taken regularly can avoid the common cold and other illnesses. Citrus fruits, mango, watermelon, leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, and some cereals contain vitamin C. Symptoms of deficiency are bleeding gums, anemia, easy bruising, dry and splitting hair, weak immune system, swollen joints, and weakened tooth enamel.