Fat-Soluble Vitamins: Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins that get dissolved in organic solvents and are absorbed and transported in a manner that of fats. These vitamins stay for too long and pose a serious threat to health. These vitamins are absorbed along with fats taken while taking diet and are further stored in the body’s fatty tissue and the liver. They are found in many plant and animal foods and dietary supplements. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins play essential roles in a multitude of physiological processes such as vision, bone health, immune function, and coagulation.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamins are essential micronutrients which are required by the body in small amounts to support a range of vital functions. Vitamins are divided into two groups: water-soluble (B-complex vitamins and C vitamins) and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Unlike water-soluble vitamins that are needed to be regularly taken in the body, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues and are eliminated much more slowly than water-soluble vitamins.

The fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K, are stored in the body for long periods and generally pose a greater risk for toxicity than water-soluble vitamins when consumed in excess. Eating a normal, well-balanced diet will not lead to toxicity in otherwise healthy individuals. However, taking vitamin supplements that contain megadose of vitamins A, D, E and K may lead to toxicity.

VitaminsRich Food SourceFunctionsDeficiency Disease
A(Retinol)                                                         Fish liver oils, dairy products, liver, most leafy vegetables, and carrots contain carotene that can be converted into retinolNeeded for normal growth and induce differentiation of cells, Regeneration of rhodopsin in rod cells of the eyes, Maintaining normal vision Essential for the immune systemDry skin, night blindness(Nyctalopia)
D(Calciferol)                 Fish oils, egg yolk, and butter. It can be made by the action of sunlight on the skin.Promotes absorption of calcium from the intestine. Necessary for formation of normal bone Rickets in children (soft bones that bend easily). Osteomalacia (painful bones) in adults
E(Tocopherol)                                                                            vegetable oils, cereal products, whole grain, nuts, egg, butter, etc.The Formation of red blood cells affects muscles and reproductive system. Maintain healthy cholesterol level Mild anemia and sterility
K(Phylloquinone)                                                                                          Fresh, dark green vegetables. Also made by gut bacteriaFormation of prothrombin (involved in blood clotting)Delayed clotting time. It May occur in newborn babies before their gut bacteria become established

Vitamin A

Also known asRetinol, It has many functions in the body. It helps in adjustment of eyes hence it promotes good eyesight, vitamin A plays an important role in bone growth, tooth development, reproduction, cell growth, gene expression, and regulation of the immune system. Vitamin A is very important antioxidant.
Food Source of Vitamin AFood sources includes foods of animal origin such as Fish liver oils, dairy products, liver, most leafy vegetables, and carrots, apricots, etc.  Vitamin A is rich in beta-carotene.
Amount of Vitamin A requiredAccording to ICMR Report amount of Vitamin A requires in  Men is1000 µg/d, Women is 840 µg/d, Pregnant women is 900µg/d, Lactating women is 950 µg/d, Infants (0-12m) is 350 µg/d, Children (1-3y) is 390 µg/d, Children (4-6y) is  510µg/d; Children (7-9 y) is 630 µg/d, Boys (10-12y) is 770 µg/d; Girls (10-12y) is  790 µg/d, Boys (13-15y) is  930µg/d; Girls (13-15y) is 890 µg/d, Boys (16-18y) is  1000 µg/d; Girls (16-18y) is 860 µg/d.
Vitamin A DeficiencySince vitamin A is stored in the liver, it may take up to 2 years for the deficiency to appear.  the common symptoms of deficiency of Vitamin A is Night blindness and very dry and rough skin. Other signs of possible vitamin A deficiency include decreased resistance to infections, faulty tooth development, and slower bone growth. 

Vitamin D 

Also known asCalciferol. Calciferol plays a role in the body to use it for calcium and phosphorous. Vitamin D helps to maintain strength of bones. Vitamin D benefits the body by playing a role in immunity and controlling cell growth and also may protect against osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cancer, and other diseases.
Food Source of Vitamin DThe primary food sources of vitamin D are milk and other dairy products fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D is also found in oily fish (e.g., herring, salmon and sardines) as well as in cod liver oil.
Amount of Vitamin D requiredAccording to ICMR Report amount of Vitamin D required in Men is 600 IU/d, Women is 600 IU/d, Pregnant women is 600 IU/d, Lactating women is 600 IU/d, Infants (0-12m) is 400 IU/d, Children (1-3y) is 600 IU/d; Children (4-6y) is  600 IU/d; Children (7-9 y) is 600 IU/d, Boys (10-12y) is 600 IU/d; Girls (10-12y) is 600 IU/d, Boys (13-15y) is  600 IU/d; Girls (13-15y) is 600 IU/d; Boys (16-18y) is 600 IU/d; Girls (16-18y) is 600 IU/d.
Vitamin D deficiencySymptoms of vitamin D deficiency in growing children include rickets (long, soft bowed legs) and flattening of the back of the skull. Vitamin D deficiency in adults may result in Osteomalacia (muscle and bone weakness), and osteoporosis (loss of bone mass). Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and infectious disease

Vitamin E

Also known asTocopherol. Vitamin E benefits the body by acting as an antioxidant, and protecting vitamins A and C, red blood cells, and essential fatty acids from destruction. Research from decades ago suggested that taking antioxidant supplements, vitamin E in particular, might help prevent heart disease and cancer.
Food Source in Vitamin EAbout 60 percent of vitamin E in the diet comes from vegetable oil (soybean, corn, cottonseed, and safflower). This also includes products made with vegetable oil (margarine and salad dressing). Vitamin E sources also include fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts (almonds and hazelnuts), seeds (sunflower) and fortified cereals.
Amount of Vitamin E required According to recommendation of ICMR Report, WHO and FAO the amount required is 7.5 – 10 mg per day.
Vitamin E deficiencyVitamin E deficiency is rare. Cases of vitamin E deficiency usually only occur in premature infants and in those unable to absorb fats. Since vegetable oils are good sources of vitamin E, people who excessively reduce their total dietary fat may not get enough vitamin E.

Vitamin K

Also known asPhylloquinone. Vitamin K is naturally produced by the bacteria in the intestines, and plays an essential role in normal blood clotting, promoting bone health, and helping to produce proteins for blood, bones, and kidneys.
Food Sources of Vitamin KGood food sources of vitamin K are green, leafy-vegetables such as turnip greens, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli, and certain vegetables oils including soybean oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil and olive oil. Animal foods, in general, contain limited amounts of vitamin K. 
Amount of Vitamin K requiredAccording to recommendation of ICMR, WHO, FAO the amount of Vitamin K required id 55μg / day.
Vitamin K deficiencyWithout sufficient amounts of vitamin K, hemorrhaging can occur. Vitamin K deficiency may appear in infants or in people who take anticoagulants, such as Coumadin (warfarin), or antibiotic drugs. Newborn babies lack the intestinal bacteria to produce vitamin K and need a supplement for the first week.     
Related Links
Water-Soluble Vitamins
Fat-Soluble Vitamins-FAQs

Ans. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins that get dissolved in organic solvents and are absorbed and transported in a manner that of fats. These vitamins stay for too long and pose a serious threat to health. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed along with fats in the diet and are stored in the body’s fatty tissue and the liver. They are Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K .

Ans. There are four types of Fat Soluble Vitamin, namely, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K.

Ans. Vitamin D is also called as Calciferol.

Ans. Night blindness is caused due to Vitamin A.

Ans. Rickets is caused due to Fat-soluble Vitamin D.

Important Links