- The most notable distinction between fat soluble and water soluble vitamins lies in the way your body stores these two types of vitamins.
- Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are stored in the liver and fatty tissues while water soluble vitamins C and the B complex group pass through the body with little to no storage.
- Food quality decline and increasingly hectic schedules can make it more and more difficult to eat a balanced diet that contains both categories of vitamins, leading many people to reach for a well-rounded multivitamin like Better Family’s Liquid Daily.
Fat Soluble Vs Water Soluble Vitamins
When taking a multivitamin or any form of supplement, it’s important to understand the ingredients and how they function within your body. Many supplements contain both vitamins and minerals, all equally essential to the body’s daily functions. If you’re familiar with nutrition, then you know there are many different types of vitamins, but you may not know that these vitamins fall into two distinct categories: fat soluble vs water soluble vitamins. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at the difference between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins in order to help provide a better understanding of how these important nutrients impact your body. Knowing the types of vitamins contained in your multivitamin, what they do, and how they react with your body can also help you figure out how to absorb vitamins better and start making the most out of your multivitamin.
So, what are the main differences between fat-soluble vitamins vs water-soluble vitamins? Their names may provide a hint. The most notable distinction lies in the way your body stores these two types of vitamins. When you take your multivitamin with your normal diet, there may be extra amounts of vitamins leftover that your body has yet to fully absorb. The leftover fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s cells, usually in the liver or fatty tissues (1). For this reason, it is important to make sure you do not take fat soluble vitamins in excessive amounts, as they can gradually pile up in your body over time. We will provide more details about these vitamins, their sources, and deficiencies in a later section.
Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are not typically stored anywhere in the body’s cells. Leftover amounts of water soluble vitamins pass directly out of the body in urine, meaning that they do not accumulate in the liver or fat tissues. This makes overdosing on water soluble vitamins difficult, but also can make deficiencies a bit more common, as you will need to replenish your body with them every day whether via your diet or a multivitamin. Both types of vitamins are equally essential to your body, so we will be exploring some benefits of each as well as listing which common vitamins fall into the two categories.
Water Soluble Vitamins
Since water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, it is important to know which nutrients are in this category in order to make sure your body receives a healthy amount of them on a regular basis. We will provide a more in-depth water-soluble vitamins chart later on, but for now let’s take a brief look at the major vitamins that make up this category: vitamin C and the B complex vitamins.
Is vitamin C water-soluble? Yes! As an immune support, vitamin C is a key micronutrient for the human body, providing support to cells in both subsets of the immune system (2). On top of its immune boosting abilities, vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant, vital to your body’s formation of blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen. For anyone who has an allergy to foods rich in vitamin C, multivitamins or vitamin C supplements are a great way to ensure your body receives enough of this essential micronutrient.
Is vitamin B water-soluble? Yes! There is not just one vitamin B, however. Vitamin B is typically treated as a group of vitamins referred to as the B complex vitamins. There are 8 vitamins making up the B complex group: B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate or folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). Most of the B complex vitamins share a similar purpose in boosting cell metabolism, brain function, and energy levels, but we will explore each of their individual functions as well as some water-soluble vitamins foods that contain these nutrients a bit more specifically soon.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
And, of course, onto the category of fat-soluble vitamins. As their name implies, fat-soluble vitamins will be best absorbed when they are consumed alongside a fat source, especially unsaturated fat. Nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and olives are all great sources of unsaturated fat that may help your body absorb your fat-soluble vitamins more efficiently. That being said, these are not necessarily foods that contain vitamins from this category. Fat-soluble vitamins foods should be high in the non water-soluble vitamins themselves, including vitamins A, D, E, and K.
As we mentioned before, excess amounts of the fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your body’s liver and fatty tissues. However, that does not mean that your body does not still require a healthy amount of them every day. These nutrients are essential in the health of various areas in the body, including bones, skin, blood, vision, and the immune system. If you feel that you are not absorbing enough fat-soluble vitamins from your diet, you may want to consider adding a supplement to your routine. Just be sure to consult with your doctor first and follow the instructions provided to avoid building up any excess of these nutrients in your system.
Vitamins And Their Functions Sources And Deficiency Chart
When taking a multivitamin or any form of supplement, it is extremely important to know the function of vitamins and other nutrients that make up its ingredients. To help explain some of the common features of these essential micronutrients, we have referenced a “Vitamins and Their Functions, Sources, and Deficiency Chart” below, according to the University of Michigan (3).
Fat-soluble vitamins functions and sources:
- Vitamin A: Assists vision, skin, bone and tooth growth, and immune system health. Found in cheese, cream, butter, eggs, liver, cantaloupe, carrots, and pumpkin.
- Vitamin D: Assists with calcium absorption. Found in egg yolks, liver, and fatty fish.
- Vitamin E: An antioxidant that helps protect cell walls. Found in leafy green vegetables, whole grain products, liver, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
- Vitamin K: Assists with blood clotting. Found in kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and asparagus.
Water-soluble vitamins functions and sources:
- Vitamin C: An antioxidant that provides support to immune cells. Found in citrus fruits, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, papayas, and mangoes.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Assists metabolism and nerve function. Found in pork, whole grain products, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Assists vision and skin health. Found in milk, leafy green vegetables, and whole grain products.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Assists the nervous and digestive system as well as skin health. Found in peanut butter, poultry, fish, mushrooms, asparagus, and leafy green vegetables.
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): Assists the cell metabolism. Found in mushrooms, avocado, nuts, seeds, and milk.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Assists the production of red blood cells. Found in tuna, salmon, beef liver, poultry, bananas, and oranges.
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin): Assists the cell metabolism. Found in walnuts, peanuts, cereals, milk, and egg yolks.
- Vitamin B9 (Folate or folic acid): Assists the production of DNA and new cells. Found in leafy green vegetables, seeds, legumes, orange juice, and liver.
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): Assists nerve function and the production of new cells. Found in animal products only, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and milk.
Vitamin Deficiency Diseases
Vitamin deficiencies occur more frequently than you may think. With food quality on the decline in recent years and hectic schedules making it more and more difficult to eat a well-balanced diet every day, you may find your body lacking in important nutrients. Deficiency of water-soluble vitamins can be particularly frequent, as these vitamins are not stored in the body and may need to be replenished more readily than their fat-soluble counterparts. However, a water-soluble vitamins deficiency is easily treatable via the consumption of supplements as instructed by a physician or simply by adding more nutrient-rich foods to your diet.
Below, we have listed a few common vitamin deficiency diseases and their symptoms (4):
- Vitamin D Deficiency: May occur more frequently in those who do not receive enough sun exposure for skin to create sufficient amounts of vitamin D. Can cause muscle weakness and bone loss while increasing the risk of bone fractures.
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vegans may be more likely to be B12 deficient, as it only appears in animal products. Can cause megaloblastic anemia and impaired brain function as well as higher homocysteine levels, which may increase the risk of heart disease.
- Vitamin A Deficiency: Occurs more frequently in developing countries. May suppress immune function and cause temporary or permanent eye damage.
One of the most convenient ways to make sure your body receives enough of the important vitamins in both categories is to start taking a multivitamin, such as Better Family’s Liquid Daily Multivitamin. Our diverse blend of nutrients includes the B complex vitamins along with vitamins A, E, D, and K, as well as essential minerals like zinc, iodine, chromium, and selenium. This all-in-one liquid solution can be consumed sublingually and is more concentrated than other liquid multivitamins, making it the standout choice among competitors for fast absorption of only the highest quality micronutrients. Both safe and effective, our Liquid Daily Multivitamin is a great choice for any household and can be given to family members of all ages.
- Solan, Matthew. “The Best Foods for Vitamins and Minerals.” Harvard Health Publishing, 17 August 2021, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-best-foods-for-vitamins-and-minerals
- Carr, Anitra C. and Silvia Maggini. “Vitamin C and Immune Function.” National Library of Medicine, 3 November 2017, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29099763/.
- Healthwise Staff. “Vitamins: Their Functions and Sources.” University of Michigan Health, 17 December 2020, https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ta3868.
- Bjarnadottir, Adda. “7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common.” healthline, 21 May 2019, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-common-nutrient-deficiencies.
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