On the weekend, my friend turned around to me and said ‘I read that fat-soluble vitamins can make you gain weight?’. The media can spin out such rubbish it makes me really frustrated. But no, vitamins do not deliver calories that contribute to excess fat; each vitamin you get from the food you consume, serves a different purpose in your body.
There are 13 essential vitamins for our bodily functions: A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins. There are two types of vitamins; fat-soluble and water-soluble which means certain vitamins are found and stored in fats whilst others dissolve in water and mix easily in your blood.
Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. These require dietary fats, oils or lipids in order to be digested in the human body. If these vitamins are not consumed with fats, they cant be completely absorbed and used in the body. If you are not consuming enough healthy dietary fats, you may be more prone to a fat-soluble vitamin deficiency. However, by having a balanced and varied diet, deficiencies are rare as they tend to naturally occur in food sources that contain dietary fats.
On an very important note, fat-soluble vitamins can pose a risk for toxicity. It is unlikely that you would ever overdose from eating them in foods but care is needed when taken supplements. Always purchase any supplements from a reliable source and do not take more than the recommended daily amount without discussing with a doctor first.
Vitamin A: helps to form and maintain healthy bones, skin, teeth, mucus membranes and soft tissue. Also, promotes good vision, especially in low light.
Vitamin D: also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, the main role of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus which helps form strong bones.
Vitamin E: an antioxidant which protects the body against damage from free radicals. It helps to keep the immune system strong and forms red blood cells.
Vitamin K: known as the blood ‘clotting’ vitamin – without it our blood would not clot. It is also necessary for the synthesis of proteins found in plasma, bone and kidneys.
Vitamins C and the B family, are known as water-soluble vitamins. They are more quickly and easily absorbed due to most of the foods you consume, containing water. They are lost and expelled through urination which is why the recommended intake for these types of vitamins are much higher.
Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, these are not stored in the body and therefore consumed every day. The risk of overdosing on them is less of a risk as they are so easily removed from the body.
Vitamin C: promotes wound healing, absorption of iron, healthy teeth and gums, collagen synthesis. Vitamin C also supports the immune system and maintains healthy tissue.
B Vitamins: the vitamin b group are one of the most crucial nutrients for healthy skin. B vitamins work in synergy with one another.
I hope this answers any questions about fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins but please do get in contact if you would like anymore information!