4 Fat-Soluble Vitamins and Where to Find Them

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What Are Fat-Soluble Vitamins?

Fat-soluble vitamins are found in many healthy foods.
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Fat-soluble vitamins are essential for so many biological processes. In fact, you couldn't survive without them. Unlike the water-soluble vitamins, your body stores the fat-soluble vitamins in the liver and fat cells.

That's good because fat-soluble vitamin deficiency is not likely to be a problem, but it's also not so good in that you can take too much of these vitamins in supplement form.

Flip through the slideshow for a quick look at each essential fat-soluble vitamin, along with links to more detailed information.

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Vitamin A

Vitamin A is found in meats and vegetables.
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Vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, adequate growth, immune system function and for cell division and differentiation.

Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include suffering from visual problems and slowed growth but taking too much vitamin A as a supplement can lead to weak bones, birth defects, and liver problems.

Dietary sources of vitamin A include butter, egg yolks, fish, liver, meats, whole milk, dark green vegetables, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables. 

Learn More About Vitamin A

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Vitamin D

Sources of Vitamin D
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Vitamin D acts as a hormone and is required to absorb and utilize calcium, which keeps your bones and teeth healthy. If you don't get enough vitamin D, you'll run the risk of having weaker bones -- adults can get osteomalacia. In kids, this condition is called rickets.

Taking too much vitamin D in the form of supplements can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss.

Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight -- there aren't many food sources of vitamin D, except for fortified foods, oily ocean fish, and some mushrooms.

Learn More About Vitamin D

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Vitamin E

Nuts are high in vitamin E.
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Vitamin E is important as an antioxidant that protects the cells of your body from free radical damage. It's also needed for normal immune system function and blood circulation.

Vitamin E deficiency is rare but can cause nerve, muscle and eye problems and a weakened immune system. Taking too much vitamin E can cause bleeding problems or interact with certain medications.

Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, cereals and dark green leafy vegetables.

Learn More About Vitamin E

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Vitamin K

Green vegetables are high in vitamin K.
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Vitamin K is important for normal blood clotting and may help keep your bones strong as you age.

Vitamin K deficiency is rare and usually due to digestive tract problems. Symptoms include easy bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, blood in the urine or stool, or extremely heavy menstrual periods.

It isn't clear what can happen if you take too much vitamin K in the form of supplements. So don't do it.

The best sources are dark green leafy vegetables, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and soybeans.  

Learn More About Vitamin K

Sources:

Colorado State University Extension. "Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E, and K." Accessed April 11, 2016. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09315.html.

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. "Vitamin A Fact Sheet for Professionals. Accessed April 11, 2016. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional.

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. "Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D." Accessed April 11, 2016. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind/.

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. "Vitamin E Fact Sheet for Health Professionals." Accessed April 11, 2016. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/.

University of Maryland Medical Center. "Vitamin K." April 11, 2016. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-k.

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