Vitamins are essential micronutrients your body needs in small amounts for various roles throughout the human body. 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 need regular replacement in the body, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissues, and are eliminated much more slowly than watersoluble vitamins.
The fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K, are stored in the body for long periods of time and generally pose a greater risk for toxicity when consumed in excess than water-soluble vitamins. Eating a normal, well-balanced diet will not lead to toxicity in otherwise healthy individuals. However, taking vitamin supplements that contain megadoses of vitamins A, D, E and K may lead to toxicity. The body only needs small amounts of any vitamin.
While diseases caused by a lack of fat-soluble vitamins are rare in the United States, symptoms of mild deficiency can develop without adequate amounts of vitamins in the diet. Additionally, some health problems may decrease the absorption of fat, and in turn, decrease the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
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