I have talked about fat soluble vitamins many times in previous posts. Please take a look at these, as there is information in them that I will not repeat here.
Kids Lunchbox - Importance of Fat Soluble Vitamins
Fat Soluble Vitamins and the Epidemic of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Today we will take this and build, looking deeper into their specific role in pain and inflammatory conditions.
What are Fat Soluble Vitamins
Vitamins are divided into two categories; water-soluble and fat-soluble.
Water soluble vitamins are those that only need water to be absorbed into the body. Fat soluble vitamins need to be bound with a fat to be absorbed. These vitamins need to be consumed daily.
Water soluble vitamins are not stored in the body and excess is secreted through the urine. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the fats and tissues of the body. These vitamins do not need to be consumed daily, if there is adequate amounts consumed at other times. The body will store excess for times of deficiency.
The fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K.
These vitamins are important for many of our organ and endocrine functions
Vitamin A, a Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory
There are really two dietary forms of Vitamin A. Carotenoids found in plants and Retinol found in animal products.
The Vitamin A found in animal products is already connected to a fat source. The quality of the fat source depends on the quality of the meat consumed (remember the differences we've talked about between conventional and grass-fed/pasture raised).
Carotenoids include Beta-Carotene. To be used in the body, it must be converted to Retinol Vitamin A. To be used in the body, beta-carotene must be converted into Retinol. Vitamin A is a strong antioxidant.
Retinol has many more functions in the body than Beta-carotene alone.
Vitamin A deficiency is again becoming a common diagnosis. This can only be due to poor dietary choices, especially in children. There is a genetic mutation that can limit the body's ability to convert beta-carotene into retinol vitamin A. If a fat soluble vitamin deficiency is suspected, get a genetic test done (like 23&me).
Vitamin D, a Hormone that Plays Many Role in the Body
Did you know that Vitamin D is technically not a vitamins, it's a hormone. In our body. Just like our reproductive hormones, Vitamin D is made from Cholesterol. Without enough good cholesterol in our diet, our reproductive hormones do not work right.
Vitamin D is converted in our body, as well as consumed in the diet. To make Vitamin D, we need to have Cholesterol in our skin. When the body comes into contact with UVB rays, the cholesterol is converted into Vitamin D. Without sunlight UVB rays, or Cholesterol (good cholesterol) we cannot make Vitamin D. This is controversial. Not that this is how Vitamin D is made, but that this process (when disturbed) is what causes Vitamin D deficiency and skin cancers.
There is a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and skin cancer. One theory is that it is not, necessarily, the UVB rays (why we wear sunscreen) that is causing cancer, but the last of dietary cholesterol to convert the UVB rays, or the wrong forms of cholesterol that do not convert UVB rays. These rays are not used and become damaging in the body. Or the wrong form of cholesterol is converted into a non natural compound. I find this to be an interesting theory.
Although the influences of Vitamin D on inflammation are being studies, we do know that Vitamin D plays a significant role in the regulation of the hormones of our body.
Vitamin D3 is the form that is made through natural sun exposure. Diary has been known for its "vitamin D Content." But here is another dirty little nutritional secret.
Most conventional dairy is low in Vitamin D, because many cow are not allowed exposure to sunlight. Much milk is "fortified" with Vitamin D because it is lacking due to how the cows are raised and treated. Also, if you are drinking skim milk, you will absorb non of this synthetically added Vitamin D, or even naturally occurring Vitamin D because you have not fat in the milk to absorb it. Another thing, is the that naturally occurring Vitamin D is a form called D3. Most synthetic D fortifications are done with D2 (made from mushrooms). Our body cannot use D2, and it can buildup in our cells (because it is a fat-soluble vitamin) can has been linked to increases in cancer. We need naturally occurring D3. If you are not getting enough GOOD cholesterol in your diet, and are wearing too much sunscreen (as recommend), you are going to be deficiency in Vitamin D3. You can get it in your diet, via quality pasture raise dairy products like Butter.
Vitamin E, a Powerful Antioxidant with Anti Inflammatory Properties
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. It is found in many foods with oils that go rancid quickly, like Almonds. Vitamin E has a job, in these nuts, to stabilize the polyunsaturated oils in them. Polyunsaturated oils are very unstable and are quickly destroyed in cooking, or exposure to UV rays. (NOTE: Keep your oils in dark colored bottles, and in the fridge to keep them from going raced faster. Same goes for your raw nuts and seeds. If they smell funny, throw them out, they are rancid.)
Vitamin E's antioxidant properties have been well known in treating skin conditions. Newer research points to a deeper role for Vitamin E, in the regulating immune functions and hormones production, as well as in the inflammation pathways.
Vitamin E deficiency is becoming an all too common condition. There are many things in our environment that attribute to the loss of Vitamin E. here are certain common environmental toxins and lifestyle choices that deplete the body of Vitamin E, and as you'll see, it's not all that common in the diet. Consumption of excess unsaturated oils. Unsaturated fats have to use Vitamin E to prevent oxidation, therefore it pulls it from our tissues. Excessive Estrogen is also a factor in Vitamin E depletion….this would apply to those who are being exposed to high levels of environmental and dietary estrogens, as well as those who have an abnormal production of estrogen causes by hormonal disorders and obesity (our fat cells produce estrogen). Chlorine and Fluoride (found in our tap water) can deplete Vitamin E in our bodies as well. Those who fit into those categories need to consume more.
Vitamin K, the Allusive Vitamin X
Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist in the early 1900's, was an expert in comparative nutrition. He spent much of his life traveling in a time where ancient and primitive civilizations still existed in their natural state. His lives work, was to understand how nutrition affected dental health. What he found was so much bigger. He hypothesized that there was a vitamin, which he called vitamin x, that was missing from the "civilized" and industrialized diet, that was rich in carbohydrates, but was prevalent in the primitive diets. We know now that this Vitamin X is in fact Vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 is a fat soluble vitamin that is produce through bacterial fermentation (either in the form of cultured food products, or by our digestive bacteria in our guts), or in cultured dairy products and bone marrow.
It's role in the body is only just starting to be understood, but it's main known function is that of blood clotting (actually done by K1, not K2). K2 on the other hand works throughout the body.
It used to be thought that your body was capable of making all the K2 you needed by converting K1, but this doesn't seem to be the case. K2 needs to be consumed in the diet as well. Just like some other vitamin absorption issues, the convert ion of K1 to K2 is dependent on enzymes and bacteria in the digestive system. (only about 10% of dietary Vitamin K1 will be absorbed into the bloodstream on a good day.) Many of us do not have healthy gut bacteria, and do not convert nutrients well. Others may have genetic mutations that limit their capacity to break down certain vitamins into their useable forms. It is best to consume K2 in the diet via fermented and cultured foods, as well as quality animal products.
Breakfast #8: Plain Grass-Fed Full Fat Yogurt with/CocoNutty Granola and Blueberries; Bulletproof Coffee
What is bulletproof coffee? Only the best coffee creamer you will ever have! Bulletproof coffee is black coffee (any type) and you add Grass-Fed Butter and Coconut Oil to it. I add mine into a tumbler and shake, then pour into my mug to make it creamier. It is a nice way to get some good and healthy fats into your body first thing in the morning. The saturated fat found in Coconut Oil converts to monounsaturated Oleic Acid in the body (same form found in Olive and Avocado). Grass Fed butter is rich in multiple fat soluble vitamins. The two work together to hydrate and nourish your body. Start slow with 1/4 tsp of each.
Lunch #8: Barley Broth Bowl
Two of my favorite kitchen appliances are my crockpot, and my rice cooker. My rice cooker has multiple settings for white rice, brown rice, multiple grains, porridge, etc...) I use it a lot. Last night I added the barley and water and let them soak overnight. Then drained and added the correct amount of water...pressed cook and that was it. When I came home for lunch, I had cooked barley, cooked broth, and a bunch of leftovers I could easy put together to make a broth bowl.
Leftover grilled chicken, leftover beets, leftover sauteed greens, diced avocado, and some parsley.
Dinner #8: Dinner Out - Nepalese; Eggplant Curry, Saag, Tandoori Chicken and Steamed Broccoli
Eating out on any diet can be difficult, especially when you are working towards a health goal. For reducing inflammation and sticking to the plan, remember the basic principles. We went to the Nepalese buffet, which has it's hurdles.