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Ever get overwhelmed with all the different vitamins?

February 14, 2019

Here we break down some basic pointers on the Fat Soluble Vitamins for you…



Vitamin A

  • As the name suggests ‘fat soluble’ vitamins, such as Vitamin A, are ones that need to be consumed alongside some fats so that they can be used by the body.
  • To get optimal nutrition out of plant sources pair with fats such as salad dressing on your salad (it doesn’t need to be much).
  • Most colourful fruits and vegetables will contain beta-carotene (the plant form of Vitamin A) especially yellow, orange and red ones, however, green veg are often also high in beta-carotene but their high chlorophyll content determines the green colour.
  • Some fortified foods can also offer a source of Vitamin A including milks, margarines and cornflakes.
  • Vitamin A is stored in our liver – hence you don’t have to eat it everyday as any excess will be stored. It’s also why eating liver is the richest source of Vitamin A. However because it gets stored in our body there is a slight risk of toxicity if too much is eaten or if supplements are taken without guidance.
  • As little as 1/2 cup or 50g of sweet potato may be enough to meet the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for an adult.













Vitamin D

  • The body makes vitamin D from exposure to sunlight and cholesterol.
  • The body can make all of its Vitamin D requirement given sufficient sunlight (only a few minutes a day, a little longer in winter than summer), however, it’s often estimated that a bit over 80% comes from sunlight and the rest from foods.
  • Besides sunlight, Vitamin D is only obtained naturally from animal based products – vegans and vegetarians should look for fortified options (e.g. soy milk).
  • If you don’t get out into the sun, or cover up for religious, cultural, health or mobility reasons you may also need to monitor and consider your intake form other sources. The elderly can particularly be at risk.
  • Vitamin D is considered the most toxic vitamin. Because it is stored in the body, consuming excess (usually from supplements) is dangerous. Toxicity from sunlight is not a risk however prolonged sun exposure has other risks.
  • Note: Vitamin D doesn’t have a Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) but rather what is considered an Adequate Intake (AI) amount. You will see this on several vitamins and minerals where a recommended intake amount has not been established.













Vitamin K

  • Similar to Vitamin D which is made by the body, Vitamin K is made by the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. However unlike Vitamin D the body can’t make enough vitamin K to meet all our needs, we have to get approximately half from food sources.
  • Because newborn babies have a sterile intestinal tract they are given a dose of Vitamin K as soon as they are born.
  • Without Vitamin K’s blood clotting contribution, we could potentially bleed to death from the smallest cut. In fact the K stands for ‘Koagulation’ the Danish word for ‘coagulation’ or ‘clotting’.
  • Vegetable oils such as canola oil are also a source of Vitamin K.













Vitamin E

  • Vitamin E can also be known as Alpha-Tocopherol
  • It is an anti-coagulant, reducing abnormal blood clotting and prevent blood vessel blockage
  • Its antioxidant properties protect your cells from damage
  • Because it is destroyed by heating/ freezing processed foods do not contribute much Vitamin E to the diet.
  • Regular intake is required as it is only stored in body for a short period of time
  • Deficiency and toxciity are rare – it is the least toxic of the fat soluble vitamins
  • Vitamin E has an Adequate Intake recommendation rather than a Recommended Dietary Intake RDI













Susan Bown