Monday, October 11, 2010

Gotta Eat That Fat

A Surgically Repaired Hip Fracture
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins.  These vitamins need dietary fat to be absorbed.  Eating a low fat diet can cause malabsorbtion of these vitamins and cause nutritional deficiencies.  These vitamins are responsible for optimizing health in multiple ways.

Vitamin A helps heart health, vision, bone health, and fertility.   Great sources are green vegetables, butter, sweet potato, liver and milk.

Vitamin D is fast becoming a well known nutrient in the nutritional world.  Problems that can be blamed on deficiency of this vitamin are cancers, weak bones, mutliple sclerosis, rheumatoid artritis, and possibly cardiovascular and peripheral vascular diseases.  The body naturally synthesizes Vitamin D via sun exposure and cholesterol in the skin.  This is by far the best way to get vitamin D but it still requires dietary fat for absorbtion.  Foods high in Vitamin D are fatty fish, eggs, and mushrooms.

Vitamin E is known as a powerful antioxidant that is good for general cellular health.  Good food sources of for Vitamin E are green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds, pumpkin and asparagus.

Vitamin K has been found to also be important in preserving bone strength.  Some other benefits of K are blood clotting regulation and prevention of cognitive diseases.  Again, green leafy vegetables are a great source of vitamin K.

I used to be in the business of fixing bone fractures.  The statistics associated with late life fractures like those of the hip, wrist, and spine, are scary to say the least.  Women especially are at a real risk to suffer these fractures after the age of 50 and they can greatly impact quality of life and length of life.  

The popular recommendation to consume Omega 6 rich vegetable oils could cause bone loss.  Don't count on drugs to help your bone density either.  One long time trusted osteoporosis drug, Fosomax, was recently shown to INCREASE risk of hip fractures.  Couple that with your antacid drug causing fracture issues and you have the perfect storm of mush for bones.  Gweneth Paltrow didn't eat right and avoided the she has low bone density at age 37.  Yes, it can happen that young.

Here are some pretty powerful quotes from a researcher at The Ohio State University:
"What we're finding is that if you don't have some fat in the meal, all these wonderful" compounds are missed, says Steven Clinton, program leader for molecular carcinogenesis and chemoprevention and the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus. "If the nutrients don't get into your system, then what good are they?"
Study researchers say they were not only surprised by how much more absorption occurred with the avocado was added to the meal, but they were taken aback at how little the body absorbed when no fats were present. "The fact that so little was absorbed when no fat was there was just amazing to me," says Dr. Clinton.

So basically, if you are eating a low fat diet, you are putting yourself at risk for nutrient deficiencies that will lead to possible health problems.  Besides bone health there are also many other reasons to be sure you get your fat soluble vitamins absorberd.  Eat a well balanced diet of meats, fish, eggs, and veggies and you should cover your bases pretty well.  On top of eating fat, avoid gluten containing grains because they can also interfere with the absorption of these nutrients.  Remember though, without dietary fat, you will have deficiency in the long term of vitamins A, D, E, and K.  So find healthy fat sources like butter, fatty fish and meats, avacodos,  have eggs with the yolks, put olive oil on your leafy greens,  and eat those "fattening" nuts.  The alternative is something you don't want to suffer through.  


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