Nutrients and Absorption: What You Need to Know
Almost any health-related article, book or presentation has a similar underlying message: A healthy diet is the foundation of good health. You know that eating a balanced, varied diet delivers the vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs to function. You might even choose foods that target specific nutrients or take supplements to help fill in dietary gaps.
But do you know that nutrients are absorbed and stored differently? That means that some nutrients need to be replaced more regularly than others. Some nutrients are fat-soluble and others are water-soluble.
Vitamins A, D, E and K, Omega-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) are fat-soluble nutrients that are stored in fat cells and the liver until the body needs to use them, anywhere from a few days to several months. So, if you consume high amounts of vitamin E on Tuesday and little to none on Wednesday and Thursday, your body should still have plenty of the nutrient available to perform its various vitamin E-dependent functions. Fat-soluble vitamins support fatty environments in the body, including cell membranes and protecting structures like cholesterol.
Water-soluble nutrients include vitamin C and B-vitamins. These micronutrients are not stored by the body and are excreted by the kidneys; you must replenish water-soluble vitamins daily to make sure your cells are getting all of the nutrients they need. These vitamins support water-soluble environments in the body, like blood and the insides of cells.
There are some nutrients that don’t fall clearly into either category. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), for example, is both fat- and water-soluble, which means it can be present in both the fatty tissues and water environments in the body. This nutrient provides general antioxidant support against free radicals and supports production of glutathione, a naturally occurring antioxidant in the body.
Here is a short list of some water- and fat-soluble nutrients, along with a few food sources. Try to incorporate them into your diet regularly, taking absorption differences into account.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Tell Us: Do you regularly target specific nutrients in your diet? If so, which ones?
Sources: http://www.nlm.nih.gov; http://www.mayoclinic.org/mcitems/mc5100-mc5199/mc5129-0709-sp-rpt.pdf