Water Soluble Vitamins: Water-soluble vitamins are the vitamins that get dissolved in water. Such vitamins do not stay for too long. They enters directly into your bloodstream; anything which your body do not need is eliminated through your urine. As we know it is not stored too long they must be replenished frequently. Vitamin C and members of the Vitamin B complex are water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin B consists of, namely, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B4 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid or folate), B12 (cobalamin).

Water Soluble Vitamins

Food is the essential body's need. It nourishes our body and maintains our health. It provides us the energy that is required for every action that we perform in our daily routine. The various food items that we consume daily constitute our diet. Diet is defined as the total amount of different variety of food items consumed by a person during a day. 

Our diet comprises constituents like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and supplementary substances such as minerals, vitamins, and water that are vital for life. These constituents are called as nutrients. For proper functioning of our body, we need to consume body-building foods, energy-giving foods, and protective foods.

Vitamins are organic substances that are required in adequate quantities for good health. Our body, however, cannot synthesize them. Therefore, we need to consume their natural sources such as fruits and vegetables. Vitamins are divided into two groups(based upon solubility), that is,  fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K) and water-soluble vitamins (Vitamins of B group and Vitamin C). Each vitamin has a some specific function and its deficiency leads to a particular deficiency disease. Water soluble vitamins are the vitamins that are not stored and are enter into the body tissue.

Below is a summary of the members of Vitamin B and Vitamin C, their rich food sources, and deficiency diseases.

VitaminsRich food sourceFunctionDeficiency Diseases
B1 (Thiamine)Pork, cereals, nuts, seeds, yeast, whole grainEssential in converting glucose to energy Important to nerve functionBeriberi (weakness of limb muscles)
B2 (Riboflavin) Milk, milk products, leafy vegetables, eggsInvolved in the formation of RBC, maintenance of body tissue, particularly skin and eyes Essential for metabolizing carbohydrates, fats and lipids.Cracked skin, blurred vision
B3 (Niacin)Meat, whole grain, cereals, beansImportant for the nervous system, digestive system, and skin healthPellagra (severe skin problem, Diarrhea, dementia)
B5(Pantothenic Acid)Whole grain cereals and legumesPart for an enzyme needed for energy metabolismPellagra, Dermatitis, Diarrhea
B6(Pyridoxine)Meat, fish, egg, vegetablesUsed to build RBC and maintain nerve tissue Necessary for immune system functioningSkin problem, Nerve disorder
B7(Biotin)egg yolk, milk, most fresh vegetables, yeast bread, and cereals.To metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids, the building blocks of protein.hair loss, skin rashes, and brittle nails
B9 (Folic Acid)Leafy green vegetables, liver,Necessary to build nucleic acid, which is essential for making new cells, especially RBCAnemia
B12(Cyanocobalamin)Liver, milk, fish, meatHelp build and maintain protective nerve sheath Needed for RNA and DNA synthesisPernicious anemia, nerve disorder
C(Ascorbic acid)Citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy vegetablesProtect cellular function Important for the immune systemScurvy (bleeding of gums, teeth falling)

Vitamin B1 

Also known as                                        Thiamine, this vitamin helps to release energy from foods, regulates normal appetite, and also it plays role in muscle contraction and conduction of nerve signals.
Food Sources Food sources include nuts, seeds, yeast, whole grain, pork, legumes, fish, peas, and liver. Most commonly, thiamin is found in whole grains such as cereal, and enriched products like bread, pasta, rice, and tortillas. 
Amount of Vitamin B1 requiredThe Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to ICMR Report is Men (sedentary): 1.4 mg/d; Men (moderate): 1.8 mg/d; Men (heavy): 2.3 mg/d; Women (sedentary): 1.4 mg/d; Women (moderate): 1.7 mg/d; Women (heavy): 2.2 mg/d.
Vitamin B1 DeficiencyPeople addicted to alcohol, those suffering from HIV/AIDS, those who have undergone bariatric surgery, and older age people who have low dietary intake are those section who are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin B1. Alcoholics are especially prone to thiamin deficiency because alcohol reduces thiamin absorption in the body. Symptoms of thiamin deficiency include mental confusion, muscle weakness, wasting, water retention (edema), enlarged heart, and the disease known as beriberi. 

Vitamin B2

Also known asRiboflavin, vitamin B2 helps to release energy from foods and is also important for the growth, development, and function of the cells in the body. It also helps to convert the amino acid tryptophan (which makes up protein) into niacin.
Food Sources for Vitamin B2                Food Sources include eggs, organ meats (liver and kidney), dark green vegetables, milk, and whole and enriched grain products. Ultraviolet light is known to destroy riboflavin which is why most milk is packaged in opaque containers instead of clear.
Amount of Vitamin B2 requiredThe Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to ICMR Report is Men (sedentary): 2.0 mg/d; Men (moderate): 2.5 mg/d; Men (heavy): 3.2 mg/d; Women (sedentary): 1.9 mg/d; Women (moderate): 2.4 mg/d; Women (heavy): 3.1 mg/d.
VitaminB2 DeficiencyGroups at risk of riboflavin inadequacy include vegan athletes, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and their babies. Symptoms of deficiency include skin disorders, cracks at the corners of the mouth, hair loss, itchy and red eyes, reproductive problems, and cataracts.

Vitamin B3

Also Known as    Niacin, this vitamin is involved in energy production and critical cellular functions.
Food Sources for Vitamin B3                Niacin is present in a wide variety of foods including animal and plant sources such as Meat, whole grain, cereals, and beans.
Amount of Vitamin B3 requiredThe Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to ICMR is Men (sedentary): 14 mg/d; Men (moderate): 18 mg/d; Men (heavy): 23 mg/d; Women (sedentary): 11 mg/d; Women (moderate): 14 mg/d; Women (heavy): 18 mg/d.
Vitamin B3 DeficiencyPellagra is a disease that occurs due to severe niacin deficiency. The deficiency of this vitamin has different symptoms like skin problems, digestive issues, and mental confusion.

Vitamin B5

Also known asPantothenic Acid. It is involved in energy production and aids in the formation of hormones and the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates from food.
Food Sources for Vitamin B5Food sources of this Vitamin include almost all plant- and animal-based foods containing pantothenic acid in varying amounts. The richest dietary sources include fortified breakfast cereals, liver, kidney, meats, and seeds.
Amount of Vitamin B5 required           The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to ICMR Report Recommendations for adults and pregnant women- 5 mg per day, recommendations for lactating women- 2 mg per day.
Vitamin B5 DeficiencyPantothenic Acid deficiency is uncommon due to its wide availability in most foods.

Vitamin B6

Also known asPyridoxine, this vitamin aids in protein metabolism, and red blood cell formation, and behaves as an antioxidant molecule. It is also involved in the body’s production of chemicals such as neurotransmitters and hemoglobin.
Food Sources for Vitamin B6Food sources include legumes, organ meats, fish, meats, starchy vegetables, whole grains, and fortified cereals
Amount of Vitamin B6 required                 The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to ICMR Men (sedentary) is 1.9 mg/d; Men (moderate) is2.4 mg/d; Men (heavy) is3.1 mg/d; Women (sedentary) is 1.9 mg/d; Women (moderate) is 1.9 mg/d; Women (heavy) is2.4 mg/d.
Vitamin B6 DeficiencyVitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon and usually associated with low concentrations of other B-complex vitamins, like vitamin B12 and folic acid. Deficiency symptoms include dermatitis, swollen tongue, peripheral neuropathy, anemia, depression and confusion, and weakened immune function. A vitamin B6 deficiency in infants can cause irritability, acute hearing issues, and convulsive seizures.

Vitamin B7

Also known asBiotin, Biotin helps release energy from carbohydrates and aids in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates from food.
Food Sources for BiotinFood sources of Biotin include liver, kidney, egg yolk, milk, most fresh vegetables, yeast breads and cereals.
Amount of Biotin required                    The recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according ICMR the Adequate Intake (AI) for Biotin for adults and pregnant women is 40 µg/day.
Biotin DeficiencyBiotin deficiency is uncommon. A few of the symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss, skin rashes, and brittle nails, and for this reason biotin supplements are often promoted for hair, skin, and nail health.

Vitamin B9 

Also known asfolic acid or folacin, aids in protein metabolism, promoting red blood cell formation, and lowering the risk for neural tube birth defects. Folate may also play a role in controlling homocysteine levels, thus reducing the risk for coronary heart disease.
Food Sources for Vitamin B9Food sources of folate includes liver, kidney, dark green vegetables, meats, legumes, fish, whole grains, and fortified grains and cereals. 
Amount of Vitamin B9 required           The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to ICMR: Men is 300 µg/d; Women is 220µg/d.
Vitamin B9 Deficiency:Folic acid deficiency affects cell growth and protein production, which can lead to overall impaired growth. Anemia is the primary clinical sign of folate deficiency and includes symptoms like fatigue, headache, and heart palpitations. A folate deficiency in women who are pregnant or of child bearing age may result in the delivery of a baby with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Vitamin B12

Also known as Cobalamin, aids in the building of genetic material, production of normal red blood cells, and maintenance of the nervous system. 
Food Sources for Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 can only be found naturally in foods of animal origin such as meats, liver, kidney, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, oysters, shellfish. Some fortified foods, like breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast may also contain vitamin B12.
Amount of Vitamin B12 required         The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin B12 is Men: 2.2 µg/d; Women: 2.2 µg/d.
Vitamin B12 DeficiencyVitamin B12 deficiency most commonly affects vegans, infants of vegan mothers, and the elderly. Symptoms of deficiency include anemia and neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. In order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, a dietary supplement should be taken. Some people develop a B12 deficiency because they cannot absorb the vitamin through their stomach lining. This can be treated through vitamin B12 injections.

Vitamin C

Also known as Ascorbic acid or Ascorbate, The body needs vitamin C, to remain in proper working condition. Vitamin C benefits the body by holding cells together through collagen synthesis; collagen is a connective tissue that holds muscles, bones, and other tissues together. Vitamin C also aids in wound healing, bone and tooth formation, strengthening blood vessel walls, improving immune system function, increasing absorption and utilization of iron, and acting as an antioxidant. Vitamin C works with vitamin E as an antioxidant. 
Food Sources for Vitamin CMany fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, the best sources are citrus fruits, peppers, kiwi, strawberries, and broccoli. For example, one orange, one kiwi, 6 oz. (3/4 cup) of grapefruit juice, or 1/3 cup of chopped sweet red pepper each supply enough vitamin C for one day.
Amount of Vitamin C required                      The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to ICMR is for Men is 80 mg/d and  for Women is 65 mg/d.
Vitamin C DeficiencyVitamin C deficiency may result in the disease known as scurvy, causing fatigue and a loss of collagen strength throughout the body. Loss of collagen results in loose teeth, bleeding and swollen gums, and improper wound healing.
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Fat soluble vitamins


Water-Soluble Vitamins- FAQs

Ans. Water-soluble vitamins are the vitamins that dissolve in water. These vitamins do not stay for too long. They do not get stored in your body. They enter your bloodstream; anything your body does not need is eliminated through your urine. Since water-soluble vitamins do not last too long in your body, they must be replenished frequently. Vitamin C and members of the Vitamin B complex are water-soluble vitamins.

Ans. There are 2 types of water soluble vitamins, that is, Vitamin-B complex and Vitamin C.

Ans. Beriberi is caused dur to deficiency of Vitamin B1.

Ans. Scurvy is caused due to deficiency of Vitamin C

Ans. Water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body's tissues but are not stored in the body. They are found in many plant and animal foods and in dietary supplements and must be taken in daily. Vitamin C and members of the vitamin B complex are water-soluble.

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