Fat-Soluble Vitamins – complete list

Main two essential vitamins group page.

VITAMIN A (Retinol, Retinal, Retinoic Acid, precursor: beta-Carotene)

Functions Facilitated in the Body:

  • activates T & B lymphocytes, immunity (enhances phagocytes and antibody production)
  • maintenance of cornea, vision
  • skin, bone and tooth growth, reproduction
  • mucous membranes maintenance

RDI:

  • Men: 900mcg/day
  • Women: 700mcg/day
  • Pregnancy: 700mcg/day (14-18yr) & 800mcg/day (19-50yr)
  • Lactation: 1100mcg/day

UL:

  • Adults: 3000mcg/day
  • Pregnancy: 2800mcg/day (14-18yr) & 3000mcg/day (19-50yr)

Deficiency Symptoms:

  • night blindness, corneal dryness and ulceration (xerosis)
  • Bitot’s spots (triangular grey spots on eye)
  • poor bone growth, poor immunity, poor sense of taste and smell
  • tinnitus
  • retardation of growth
  • rough dry skin, dry hair

Toxicity Symptoms:

  • fatigue, headache
  • hypercalcaemia, painful joints and bones
  • increased activity of osteoclast resulting in reduced bone density
  • blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, muscle incoordination (acute symptoms)

Processing Losses:

  • heating green and yellow vegetables

Food Sources:

  • butter, dairy foods and egg yolk, cod liver oil, liver pate
  • carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, deep orange fruits, broccoli, mango

VITAMIN D (Calciferol, Ergocalciferol D2 from plant form & Cholecalciferol D3 from animal source)

Functions Facilitated in the Body:

  • mineralisation of bones, calcium and phosphate absorption and regulation
  • anti proliferative effect
  • regulates or inhibits T-cell mediated immune responses
  • blood clothing

There is no Australian RDI for Cholecalciferol, only Adequate Intake is advised:

AI:

  • Men: 19-50 years 5 mcg (200IU)
  • Men 51-70 years 10 mcg (400IU)
  • Men >70 years 15 mcg (600IU)
  • Women 19 – 50 years 5 mcg (200IU)
  • Women 51 – 70 years 10 mcg (400IU)
  • Women > 70 years 15 mcg (600IU)
  • Pregnancy & Lactation 5mcg (200IU)

UL: Upper level intake has been established at 100mcg or 4000IU a day.

Deficiency Symptoms: Unfortunately vitamin D deficiency is emerging as a major problem worldwide and even with abundance of sunshine. For instance in Australia, nearly one-third of population are not getting enough of sunshine / Vitamin D.

  • Rickets in children (inadequate calcification)
  • osteomalacia, osteoporosis in adults
  • loss of calcium (resulting in brittle bones, pain in pelvis, lower back)
  • hyperparathyroidism

Toxicity Symptoms:

  • elevated blood calcium
  • calcification of soft tissues (kidneys, heart, blood vessels)

Toxicity disease is Hypervitaminosis D.

Processing Losses:

  • unstable to light

Food Sources:

  • fish liver oils (cod, halibut, tuna, herring)
  • butter, milk, egg yolk
  • sprouted seeds, fortified cereals
  • synthesized by the action of sun on the skin

VITAMIN E (Alpha-tocopherol)

Functions Facilitated in the Body:

  • important intracellular antioxidant and free radical scavenger
  • regulation of oxidation reactions
  • protection of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and vitamin A
  • maintains lipid membranes integrity

AI:

  • Men: 10mg/day (alpha-tocopherol equivalents)
  • Women: 7mg/day (alpha-tocopherol equivalents)
  • Pregnancy: 8mg/day (14-18yr) & 7mg/day (19-50yr)
  • Lactation: 12mg/day (14-18yr) & 11mg/day (19-50yr)

UL:

  • Adults: 300mg/day

Deficiency Symptoms:

  • erythrocyte haemolysis (red blood cell breakage), red blood cell fragility
  • chronic liver and gallbladder disease
  • nerve damage
  • poor immunity, poor coordination

Toxicity Symptoms:

  • decreased antimicrobial activity of white blood cells
  • allergy
  • fatigue
  • augments the effect of anticlotting medication

Processing Losses:

  • unstable to heat and light
  • milling of flour (significant losses)

Food Sources:

  • polyunsaturated plant oils (sunflower, apricot, sesame)
  • leafy green vegetables, corn, avocado
  • wheat germ and wheat germ oil
  • nuts and seeds
  • beef, egg yolk

VITAMIN K (Phylloquinone, menaquinone, naphthoquinone)

Functions Facilitated in the Body:

  • synthesis of blood clotting (stops bleeding) and bone proteins (bone mineralisation)
  • calcium metabolism
  • supports function of pancreatic cells
  • increases production of osteocalcin (improves bone calcification)

AI:

  • Men: 70mcg/day
  • Women: 60mcg/day
  • Adolescents: 55mcg/day
  • Pregnancy & Lactation: 60mcg/day

UL has not been set for vitamin K.

Deficiency Symptoms:

  • haemorrhaging, haematoma’s
  • lower bone density
  • nose bleeds
  • increased clotting time
  • osteoporosis

Toxicity Symptoms:

  • phylloquinone is non toxic
  • menadione form can cause toxicity and can lead to:
    • haemolytic anaemia
    • hyperbilirubinemia
    • decreased appetite, decreased activity and movement
    • enlarged liver, yellow eyes or skin

Processing Losses:

  • unstable to light and alkali solutions

Food Sources:

  • green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, kelp, kale
  • beef liver
  • eggs
  • bacterial synthesis in the gut

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