Vitamins can be divided into two categories, water soluble or fat soluble. If a vitamin is water soluble, which includes Vitamins B’s and C, it is not stored by the body. Water soluble vitamins need to be taken daily, as they are dissolved quickly. The body uses them as they are ingested. On the flip side, fat soluble vitamins are stored in one’s liver. Hence, these vitamins do not need to be replaced as quickly as water soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins include Vitamin A, D, E, and K . Vitamins help people fight diseases, heal, maintain growth and development, and help organs, muscles, tissues, and cells function at optimal levels. When individuals lack the proper amount of vitamins, they can get sick, their bodily systems not functioning at healthy levels needed .
Fat soluble vitamins are essential for obtaining nutrients, requiring a specific amount of fat in order to be absorbed into the body. People need a certain level of these vitamins, known as the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in order to stay healthy. Vitamin A can be found in foods such as liver, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, butter, spinach, kale, and parsley. Vitamin A helps maintain good vision, healthy immune system functioning, and helps the respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Women should get 4,000 IU’s, while men should get about 5,000 IU’s per day. A lack of Vitamin A can result in night blindness, bad teeth and bones, infectious diseases, and skin bumps. Too much Vitamin A can cause vomiting, headaches, fatigue, dry skin, joint or abdomen pain, and irritability .
Vitamin K, an antioxidant, is utilized by the body for blood clotting and forming bones. One can get sources of Vitamin K by eating eggs, spinach, soy products, cabbage, broccoli, dark-green leafy vegetables, parsley, liver, and legumes. Adults should get between 65 to 80 mcg’s of Vitamin K per day. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause blood clotting issues, menstrual cramps, and osteoporosis . Ingesting too much Vitamin K can cause anemia, vomiting, and thrombosis .
Vitamin D and E are important. Fish, milk, eggs, mushrooms, some dark-green leafy vegetables, and the sun provide Vitamin D. Adult should get 200 IU’s per day. Vitamin D helps the intestines absorb calcium and phosphorus, gets these minerals to bones, and helps calcium infiltrate bones. Vitamin D helps the thyroid and protects against some forms of cancer. . Vitamin E is found in nuts, oils, seeds, brown rice, whole grains, and fortified cereals. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, ensuring the functioning of vitamin C, A, and red blood cells. This vitamin also prevents essential fatty acids from being eradicated . Too much Vitamin E may result in nausea and possible disorders of one’s digestive tract. .
Vitamin C is water soluble vitamin that comes from tomatoes, green peppers, citrus fruits, potatoes, strawberries, dark leafy green vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, cantaloupe, and brussel sprouts. Adults should get 60 milligrams per day. This vitamin helps with the formation of collagens and bones, prevents infections and some cancers, aids in wound healing, synthesizes hormones and amino acids, and keep gums healthy. Deficiency can result in infections, bruising easily, joint swelling and tenderness, scurvy, wounds not healing well, and bleeding gums. However, ingesting too much Vitamin C can result in diarrhea or stomach cramps.
There are eight water soluble B vitamins. These vitamins keep one’s skin healthy, maintain good vision; help with metabolism, energy, and red blood cell functioning; as well as aiding in healthy functioning of nerves and neurotransmitters . B vitamins also help synthesize DNA; metabolize foods for energy; ensure brain, heart, and cognitive function; and regulate one’s mood. B vitamins can be found in meats, fish, cheese, fruits, vegetables, legumes, chicken, grains, pork, yeast, and brown rice. Lack of these vitamins can cause anemia, weight loss, heart problems, depression, numbness, shooting feet pain, sleep and mood problems, diarrhea, and fatigue. Deficiencies can result in cognitive and digestive problems, anorexia, nerve function issues, and cracked lips and tongue. Too much B vitamins can cause liver damage, dilation of blood vessels, numbness, and tingling .
Water and fat soluble vitamins, such as Vitamins A, C, E, K, B, and C, are essential for the body’s health. While fat soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and need fat to be absorbed properly, water soluble vitamins are not stored by the body. In contrast, water soluble vitamins are dissolved quickly, these vitamins needing to be ingested daily. Both types of vitamins need to be ingested at optimal levels to be effective. An excess or deficiency of these vitamins can result in bodily and cognitive functioning problems, decreasing one’s ability to heal, prevent disease, and absorb and convert needed nutrients. If one eats a well-balanced diet, it is possible to get all of the recommended daily allowance of water and fat soluble vitamins, leading to greater health.
- Balch, J. F., & Stengler, M. (2004). Prescription for natural cures: a self-care guide for treating health problems with natural remedies including diet and nutrition, nutritional supplements, bodywork, and more . Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Fat and Water Soluble Vitamins Explained. (2013). Retrieved from Fit Day website: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/vitamins-minerals/fat-and-water-soluble-vitamins-explained.html
- Fat Soluble Vitamins: Possible Side Effects. (2013). Retrieved from Fit Day website: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/vitamins-minerals/fat-soluble-vitamins-possible-side-effects.html