Have you ever been at a vitamin shop or browsed online for vitamins? If so, you have probably noticed that a lot of these in-store and online stores have a ton of different vitamins. You might not know where to begin or why they even matter.
Indeed, there are a lot of vitamins and multivitamins on the market. How do you know which choice is right for you? What is the difference between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins? Why should you care?
These are all valid and useful questions to ask. You should care what you are putting into your body and how it can benefit you immediately and in the long run.
This is why we are going to take you through the difference between those two types of vitamins, the subcategories of both of them and why and how you should intake water-soluble vitamins. After you read through this, you should be able to understand how to make the best decision to provide your body with all the essential nutrients you need.
What Are Fat-Soluble and Water-Soluble Vitamins?
So what are fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins? There is a distinct difference between the two.
Water-soluble means exactly what it sounds like. They dissolve in water, then immediately absorb into your tissues. Finally, your body uses them. They are not typically stored in your body, so it is important that you intake them every day. This can either be through your diet or through supplements if you have a deficiency.
Fat-soluble means that you absorb these vitamins through liquid fat, like oil. Once you intake them, your body stores them to use later on. It is thus not as necessary to constantly replenish them. They distribute to where they need to go by themselves.
There are more water-soluble vitamins than there are fat-soluble. So we made a comprehensive list of the various types of both. It will show the clear benefits you reap when you intake the water-soluble ones.
Which Vitamins Are Water-Soluble and Fat-Soluble?
Think back to the scenario of when you browse a health store or scroll through one online. You might not have even realized there was a difference between those vitamins.
Now you will have all of this information fresh in your mind. You can make an educated decision because one vitamin might be better for you than another.
There are four fat-soluble vitamins. This includes vitamins A, D, E and K. You can find them in fatty foods and they do not dissolve in water.
You can also find them in supplements if you have a deficiency or find that your diet lacks any of these vitamins. Vitamin D, as you might well know, is also absorbed into your body through the sun.
Fat-soluble vitamins are also absorbed far better when you consume them with high-fat food.
Vitamin A is mainly for the benefit of your vision. If you are deficient in Vitamin A, it could lead to vision impairment and eventual blindness. However, it also supports your immune system.
It is not just one vitamin, though. Instead, these are composed of a group of retinoids, a naturally occurring compound within your body that you can obtain from your diet. The retinoids in your diet can be used by themselves in your body as a source of Vitamin A, though it also can come in the form of provitamin A, which your body then converts to Vitamin A.
The actual vitamin comes directly from animal sources and plant sources bring your body to produce carotenoids that can convert into Vitamin A.
You can find it in many dietary sources, like:
- Beef liver
- Dairy products
- Fish liver oil
- Sweet potatoes
- Green leafy vegetables
How much you should intake depends on your sex and age, but typically for adults it ranges from 700 to 900 mcg (micrograms) RAE.
Deficiencies can come when you are vegetarian or vegan or have cystic fibrosis.
Vitamin E are antioxidants that can help prevent cell damage that leads to cancer and other diseases. The form it takes for our health needs is that of alpha-tocopherol.
It is also known to prevent clotting and sustain your immune system.
You can get it in your diet from:
- Sunflower oil and seeds
- Almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts
- Mango and kiwi
- Wheat germ oil
- Spinach and broccoli
The recommended daily intake for adults falls around 15 milligrams AT, but those with Crohn’s Disease or cystic fibrosis can lack this from a natural diet.
Vitamin D can be absorbed in your body through various forms, such as UV exposure you might get through being in the sun, through a regular diet, through fortified foods or in the form of a supplement.
A series of compounds called calciferol comprise Vitamin D, which you can find naturally in both animal- and plant-based foods.
It is integral for both bone health and boosting the immune system, but you cannot get all of your recommended daily intake from the sun alone. You can get it in your diet from:
- Fish oils
- Fortified dairy products and plant-based milk
- Cereals and eggs
- Beef liver
Typically, you need to intake 600 IUs of Vitamin D every day. Those most at risk for deficiency are people who spend a lot of time inside, obese people and darker-complected people. Deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and general bone problems, infection and rickets.
Vitamin overdose can happen when you take too many Vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin K is essential for proper blood flow in your body. Without it, you are more prone to excessive bleeding because you cannot form blood clots correctly. It also can lower your risk of heart disease, aid in bone health and lower calcium levels in your blood.
The two typical forms of Vitamin K are Vitamin K-1, or phylloquinone, and Vitamin K-2, or menaquinones. The former is found in green leafy vegetables and the latter is found in fermented foods and animal products. Both are found in:
- Kale, spinach and parsley
- Egg yolks
The recommended adequate intake for adults 19 and older is between 90 to 120, but there is a decent chance of deficiency since Vitamin K is not able to be sustained for as long as A or D vitamins.
There are nine different types of water-soluble vitamins within the human diet and body.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
There are also four various categories of thiamine that all vary with their different benefits and where they can be found. For example, thiamine hydrochloride is found in supplements and thiamine pyrophosphate comes from whole foods.
Thiamine is a coenzyme, which means that it helps the regular enzymes to trigger chemical reactions that cannot occur by themselves.
The best ways to get Vitamin B1 in your diet is by consuming:
- Whole grains
For women and men 14 and older, you should intake between one to 1.2 milligrams of thiamine daily.
Thiamine deficiency is not common in typically healthy adults. However, those with diabetes and alcoholism are at a higher risk. It can lead to anorexia and weight loss, mental issues, muscle weakness and heart problems.
Luckily, there are supplements you can take if you are deficient.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Flavoproteins support riboflavin during digestion. Riboflavin itself serves as a coenzyme and helps convert nutrients into energy. It can be found in:
- Yeast extract
- Leafy vegetables
The daily intake for males and females 14 and older is one to 1.3 milligrams per day. A riboflavin deficiency can be found in alcoholics, those with a poor diet, the elderly and those with lung diseases. It can cause anemia and skin and eye problems, to name a few.
Riboflavin supplements can lower blood pressure, the risk of heart disease and the frequency of migraines.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Niacin comes in the common forms of nicotinic acid niacinamide. Both of them are found in mineral supplements and various foods.
Niacin is also a coenzyme and antioxidant and mainly serves as a key factor in metabolic functions. It does this through glycolysis, which extracts energy from sugar. The best sources of Vitamin B3 are found in:
- Yeast extract spread
Its recommended daily intake (RDA) is 30 milligrams daily for males and females 14 years old and up.
Niacin deficiency is also called pellagra. It is fatal if left untreated. Luckily, deficiency is rare in first-world countries.
You can experience a vitamin overdose if you consume too much niacin. It can cause nausea, vomiting and liver damage. This also leads to a syndrome called niacin flush, which presents as a flush in the upper extremities.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Vitamin B5 helps metabolic processes. It is found in almost every kind of food, but is especially present in:
- Root vegetables
- Yeast extract spread
- Egg yolks
The adequate daily intake of Vitamin B5 in adults 19 and older is five milligrams.
Deficiency can be present in those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol often and in diabetics.
Vitamin B6 is another coenzyme that aids in metabolism. It does this by helping to form red and white blood cells, releasing sugar from glycogen and synthesizing neurotransmitters.
It is heavily found in foods like:
- Salmon and tuna
The RDA increases as you age, but 1.3 milligrams daily for most adults is sufficient.
Plant-based diets lack the most Vitamin B6 and alcoholics are at a higher risk for deficiency.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Hair, Skin and Nails vitamins are popular mineral supplements. Biotin is a coenzyme just like the rest of the B vitamins and is important in metabolic processes too.
There are plant- and animal-based products that naturally contain biotin:
- Organ meats
- Egg yolk
The adequate intake for adults is 30 micrograms a day. Though uncommon, biotin deficiency is prevalent in some formula-fed babies and people who take antiepileptic medicine. If left untreated, this deficiency can cause seizures and motor function delay.
Forms of Vitamin B9 include folate, folic acid and L-methylfolate.
Vitamin B9 is very important for infants and pregnant women. It is also used to form red and white blood cells. Some sources include:
- Lamb’s liver
- Raw spinach
- Sunflower seeds
The RDA for adults is 400 micrograms a day. Anemics lack the proper amount of B9. Pregnant women who do not intake the right amount can result in birth defects.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 complex is popular in supplements because of how stable it is. It also is not easily found in food. It helps with brain function, production of red blood cells and convert protein and fat into energy.
Meat, seafood, eggs and dairy are the only way to include cobalamin in your diet. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it can be hard to intake without a supplement. Its RDA is 2.4 micrograms daily for adults.
Deficiency is also common in the elderly, Crohn’s Disease patients and Celiac patients.
You need Vitamin C for antioxidants and collagen synthesis. Its most well-known form is ascorbic acid and it is imperative for immune system support.
You can get it from fresh produce and raw meats like liver and eggs.
The RDA for men and women is between 75 to 90 milligrams daily. Deficiencies are common for those who avoid fruits and vegetables, alcoholics and drug addicts. Vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy, which results in death if untreated.
Why Should You Intake Water-Soluble Vitamins?
As you can see, there are a lot of water-soluble vitamins to choose from because they have so many positive effects on your health.
Readily Available in a Variety of Foods
You do not have to stress about finding the perfect water-soluble vitamin. Instead, you can eat a lot of different foods that already have vitamins in them.
Increases Energy Metabolism
All water-soluble vitamins are coenzymes. Additionally, almost every one of them helps your metabolic processes. This boosts your energy metabolism so you feel like you are more focused, alert and energized.
Folate is Crucial for Women
There are a lot of men’s and women’s multivitamins on the market. This is confusing if you do not know how they target your sex. They should definitely contain folate if you are a woman, though. It contributes to cell division and growth.
This could be desirable for women of childbearing age who want a healthy pregnancy and child. Without it, it can cause birth defects.
Boosts Immune System
A lot of water-soluble vitamins boost your immunity. In fact, Vitamin C drastically reduces when you are sick. You have to replenish Vitamin C if you want to maintain a healthy immune system. Vitamin A can also prevent illness.
Red Blood Cells Production
Vitamins B6 and B12 both support red blood cell production. This is vital because red blood cells give you oxygen.
They Travel Through the Body Without Restriction
Since these vitamins dissolve in water, they can move through your body freely. If there are a lot of them in your system, they usually remove themselves when you urinate.
You need these nutrients daily. A great reason to take water-soluble vitamins is that they can get to the part of your body that needs them without restriction.
No matter your age, we are here to help you achieve all of your health goals. Here at Dirobi, we know that you’re unique and you need unique solutions. We can provide those with our high-quality products. For more information on topics like water-soluble vitamins, check out our podcast or download our free eBook. To schedule your free supplement consultation with founder and owner Dave Sherwin, click here.