Vitamins are defined as the essential micronutrients that are required by the body in small amounts so as to support the range of functions of vitamin. Vitamins can be divided into small groups such as water soluble vitamins which includes Vitamin B-complex and Vitamin C whereas another group consists of fat soluble vitamins including vitamin A, D, E and K. Unlike water soluble vitamins, that needs regular replacement in the body , fat soluble vitamins are stored within the liver and fatty tissues that gets eliminated in a much slower rate than the water soluble vitamins. The Fat soluble vitamins consists of Vitamin A, D, E and K that gets stored within the body for longer periods of time and generally pose a greater risk of toxicity than the water soluble vitamins that gets consumed in excess. Having a normal and a well-balanced dietmay not lead to toxicity in healthy individuals. However while in taking vitamin supplements containing mega dose of vitamins A, D, E and K may lead to toxicity. Diseases can be caused due to lack of fat soluble vitamins that are rare in the United States with a symptoms of mild deficiency that can develop without the adequate amount of vitamins in the diet. Additionally there are some health problems that can arise such as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD , chronic pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis leading to decrease in the absorption of fat which in turn leads to the decrease in absorption of Vitamins A, D , E , and K. Fat soluble vitamins can dissolve both fats and oils. Fat soluble vitamins are absorbed along with the fats in the diet that gets absorbed along with the fats and stored within the body’s fatty tissue. Fat soluble vitamins come from plant and animal foods or dietary supplements.
Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the adipose tissues. These vitamins do not get absorbed directly into the blood stream but also gets absorbed into the lacteals in the small intestine via chylomicrons that are transported through the lymphatic system and gets released in the blood stream. Therefore unlike water soluble vitamins, lipid-soluble vitamins tend to accumulate in the body tissues thereby leading to toxicity. Fat soluble vitamins have their specific characteristic that helps them in differentiating from other vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins are usually stored in human liver and fatty tissue. Fat soluble vitamins lasts longer in human body as they are not needed every day. The fat soluble vitamins can be tucked away until they are required for functions such as blood clotting as in this case of vitamin K. The fat soluble vitamins gets absorbed through small intestine with dietary fat and gets excreted slowly. As fat soluble vitamins gets stored within the body for longer period of time hence it can cause toxicity as the body cannot excrete them quickly enough. In general a healthy diet do not cause toxicity but taking supplements at a high level can lead to creation of an imbalance of vitamins causing illness.
Fat soluble vitamin status is largely dependent on adequate digestion and absorption of dietary fat. The patients suffering from steatorrhea that is caused by EPI requires supplementation of fat soluble vitamins. The degree of control of EPI appears to plays an important role in the fat soluble vitamin status in the veterinary EPI patients. Besides controlling the degree of EPI, the diet composition appears to play an important role in the fat soluble vitamin status. The absorption of vitamin E was higher for both normal dogs and those with controlled EPI when the fat fed diets with 35% provided by the MCTs compared to the fed diets with 0% MCTs. The fat soluble vitamins have the following functions which are mentioned as follows:
Vitamin A : It helps to increase the vision, immune and reproductive systems. It is very much essential to bone growth and development of tooth. It also helps in keeping the Heart, lungs and the kidneys in a working condition properly.
Vitamin D: Along with calcium Vitamin D helps in keeping bones stronger while preventing diseases such as rickets, a type of disorder that causes bones to become soft and weak in case of children. It also helps in preventing osteoporosis that is a type of disease that makes bones weak and more likely to break. Vitamin D also helps in boosting the muscles while improving the immune system and helping in reducing the inflammation.
Vitamin E: It acts as an antioxidant that helps in protecting the body from free radicals that are basically molecules that damage your cells. It also helps in boosting the immune system and keeps blood moving through blood vessels without clotting.
Vitamin K: This type of vitamin allows blood to clot. It also helps body to develop proteins for healthy bones and tissues.
Biotin: Biotin is one of the essential element needed for metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates and also in the production of hormones and cholesterol.
Niacin: Niacin is a type of vitamin B that helps in maintaining the healthy skin and nerves. It also has cholesterol lowering effects at higher doses.
Folate: It works with vitamin B12 that helps in formation of red blood cells. It is needed for the production of DNA which helps in controlling the growth of tissue and also in the functioning of the cells.
Pantothenic acid: It is one of the essential element for the purpose of metabolism of food. It also helps in production of hormones and cholesterol.
Fat soluble vitamins get absorbed through the digestion process. Once they get into the small intestine, the fay soluble vitamins get released. Once in the lymph system, the vitamins are sent to the blood stream where they are put out for use by the body or sent for storing in the liver and fat cells. Whenever the body is in need of one of these vitamins it gets released from the storage.
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