How robust is your immune system? What about your mood?

How robust is your immune system these days? 

Do you feel healthy and strong and have good energy?   Feel like you could scale a mountain?  Or do you get frequent colds?  Or have allergies?  Or feel tired and depleted?

What about your mood?  Your sleep?  Your weight stability? 

Are you happy, upbeat, optimistic?  Or do you struggle to get out of bed?  Or struggle to handle the stressors of life?  Or battle to maintain an ideal body weight?

If your answers to the above questions were not optimal, it is possible that you are fatty acid deficient.  You may not be getting enough high-quality fats in your diet and/or you may not be digesting them properly.

I recognize dietary fats have been demonized the past several decades.

However, dietary fats are essential for the formation of our hormones – hormones essential for digestion, for reproduction, for feeling good, for sleeping, for maintaining a healthy weight, for dealing with stress, and much more.

Furthermore, dietary FAT and healthy BILE are essential for the absorption of our fat soluble vitamins!  (We need good quality dietary fat to produce healthy bile, and we need healthy bile to breakdown, absorb and utilize the dietary fat.  They work hand-in-hand.)

The fat soluble vitamins.  Do you know what they are?

They are the Vitamins A, D, E, & K.

Vitamins A, D, and K are essential for bone formation.

Vitamin A also helps keep cells healthy and protects our vision. Without Vitamin E our bodies would have difficulty absorbing and storing Vitamin A.

Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant (a compound that helps protect the body against damage from unstable molecules and toxins) and is essential for brain development.

Vitamin K is essential in blood clotting.

A high serum level of Vitamin D is associated with reduced risk for various cancers – brain, cervical, endometrial, esophageal, ovarian, thyroid, and head and neck cancers.[1]  BUT, please note, this association does not support supplementing with Vitamin D to prevent cancer as you might conclude.  In an article titled Sunlight and Vitamin D: They’re Not the Same Thing, Stephanie Seneff, PhD, explains why Vitamin D supplementation can actually be contraindicated in preventing cancer.

Together this quartet of vitamins helps keep our eyes, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, mineral metabolism, muscle tone, reproductive system, nervous system and immune system in proper working order.[2] [3]

Fat is where the fat soluble vitamins live.  Products such as fat free dairy have had the fat removed, meaning that the naturally occurring Vitamins A and D have also been removed.

What do manufacturers do now?  They add back synthetic Vitamin A and/or D to make up for the deficiency.

There are at least two things wrong with this scenario:

  1. Our bodies will have a hard time recognizing and utilizing the synthetic Vitamins A and D.
  2. Without the dietary fat, we cannot absorb Vitamins A and D.

Orange juice “fortified” with Vitamin D would be the same way.  There is not any fat in orange juice.  So, the Vitamin D will pass right through if you are not eating something with fat along with it.

Can you think of similar products you may consume?  Products that are “fortified” with one of the fat soluble vitamins, but have no fat?

When we avoid dietary fat, we are literally depriving ourselves of essential nutrients – the fat soluble vitamins and the other nutrients needed for good hormone production.  HOW SAD!

What are those healthy fats to which I am referring?  I covered that my blog titled: Dietary fat. Friend or our foe? Could we have been misled?   But here is a reminder:

And although the point of this article is to further unveil the important role that dietary fat plays in our overall health (we now know it is essential for creating hormones and assimilating our fat soluble vitamins), you are probably asking: “What are sources of these fat soluble vitamins?”

Here you go:

Good Food Sources of the Fat Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A[4] Vitamin D[5] Vitamin E Vitamin K
·        Cod Liver Oil

·        Liver (Beef or chicken)

·        Butter

·        Full fat dairy

·        Egg yolks from pasture raised chickens and ducks

·        Orange/red vegetables or fruits

 

·        Cod Liver Oil

·        Milk and butter from grass-fed cows (preferably raw)

·        Lard from pasture raised hogs

·        Wild caught fish such as salmon

 

And let us not forget sunlight, which is not a food but an important source.

 

·        Cod Liver Oil

·        Eggs from pasture raised chickens and ducks

·        Organic, non-GMO wheat germ

·        Organic, non-GMO, strictly cold-pressed sunflower oil

·        Organic sunflower seeds

·        Organic “crispy” almonds and hazelnuts

·        Leafy greens

·        Properly prepared whole grains

·        Liver

·        Butter or ghee from grass-fed cows

·        Emu oil

·        Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens

·        Cabbage

·        Brussel sprouts

Note:  Vitamin D must always be balanced with Vitamin A or the Vitamin D can become toxic.  This is because every time we use a vitamin D molecule in the body, we also use a vitamin A molecule.  The Vitamin D without the Vitamin A will cause calcification the soft tissues, creating problems such as kidney stones.

Interesting, but not surprising, these two vitamins are often coupled together in nature – animal fats, egg yolks, butter, cod liver oil, to name a few.

Vitamin K in the right form acts as an activator for the fat soluble vitamins.  So, it is best to get all four of them to stay in balance, which is easy to do if you are looking to food sources and not to supplements to obtain these nutrients.

This was a lot of information.  But if you are like me, knowing this gives you an even greater appreciation for the amazing bodies God gave us and the foods He created to nourish and fortify them.

Enjoy the good foods God has given us as noted in the charts above.  Remember, we are all bio-individual so the amount of fat one needs will vary from person to person and from day to day.  But it is likely most of us could use a little more in our diet to feel good.

Add a little butter or ghee to your cooked veggies, potato, or sourdough bread.  Drizzle sufficient olive oil, avocado oil or the like on your salad.  Enjoy the naturally occurring fat in meat such as the skin on the chicken or the fat on the edge of your pork chop or steak!  

Leave a comment and let me know how it goes.

As Wise Traditions Podcast host and producer Holistic Hilda stated recently, “When I eat this way [i.e. NOT avoiding the fat], I am more calm, and less irritated, edgy and nervous.”

Peace and grace,
Karen

[1] Grant WB. A review of the evidence supporting the vitamin D-cancer prevention hypothesis in 2017. Anticancer Res 2018;38(2):1121-36.

[2] https://www.sharecare.com/health/vitamins-supplements/what-role-fat-soluble-vitamins

[3] Sally Fallon with Mary Enig, Ph.D., Nourishing Traditions, New Trends Publishing 2001, p. 12

[4] https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/vitamin-a-mazing/

[5] https://www.westonaprice.org/?s=vitamin+d

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