Vitamins are important to maintain biological functions in the human body. They have two main groups, fat-soluble vitamins that can be stored in fat, and water-soluble vitamins which are not easily stored. With the passage of time, water-soluble vitamins are reduced in the human body. Therefore, regular intake of these vitamins is very essential for maintaining a healthy life. The common diseases and disorders due to a deficiency of water-soluble vitamins are as follows:

  • Scurvy
  • Charcot-Marie
  • Neural tube problems
  • Pellagra
  • Beriberi
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
  • Anemia
  • Inflammation of body
  • Muscular degeneration
  • Neurological problems
  • Heart enlargement, etc.

Before intaking water-soluble vitamins, it is necessary to know about the role of the vitamins. Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin B complex and vitamin C. These vitamins have an important role in the body’s growth and development, heart and nerve functions, red blood cell formation, and as a cofactor in biochemical reactions. They can be obtained from sources, such as vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat, legumes, fish, peas, eggs, grains, and cereals.

These are the nine types of water soluble vitamins:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Vitamin C

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

It is a type of water-soluble vitamin that works as a cofactor in the enzymatic activity of glucose breakdown. For example, these enzymes include pyruvate dehydrogenase, alpha-ketoglutarate, transketolase, and branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase.

These are the types of thiamine:

  • Thiamine pyrophosphate
  • Thiamine triphosphate
  • Thiamine mononitrate
  • Thiamine hydrochloride

Thiamine pyrophosphate is alternatively called thiamine diphosphate. It is mostly found in all types of food. It abundantly occurs as compared to thiamine triphosphate. While thiamine triphosphate is found in the food that is obtained from animals. Thiamine mononitrate and hydrochloride are synthetic forms of thiamine.

Deficiency of thiamine

A deficiency of thiamine can result in harmful conditions, such as ATP depletion and problems in the brain, heart, and nerves. A heart condition due to a deficiency of thiamine is called wet beriberi which leads to heart failure, edema, dyspnea, etc. Similarly, when the nervous system is involved, this condition is known as dry beriberi which results in polyneuritis and symmetrical muscle wasting.

More serious condition due to lack of thiamine results in disorders, such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, Wernicke encephalopathy, ophthalmoplegia, ataxia, etc. Symptoms of these disorders are anorexia, weight loss, mental problem, heart enlargement, muscle weakness, etc.

Sources of thiamine

These are the best sources that can be used to obtain vitamin B1 thiamine:

  • Lamb’s liver
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Oats
  • Hazelnuts

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 has an important role in redox reactions as a cofactor. For example, in the FAD and FMN. It is also working as a coenzyme in other biochemical reactions. The major function of riboflavin is in the conversion of nutrients into energy, the activation of vitamin B6, and the conversion of tryptophan into vitamin B3.

Riboflavin is one out of all water-soluble vitamins, used as a food coloring agent. They are mostly yellow in color according to their name flavin means yellow.

These are the two types of riboflavin vitamins:

  • Flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)
  • Flavin mononucleotide (FMN)

Deficiency of riboflavin

Its deficiency results in sore throat, anemia, and eye problems. It also leads to cheilosis and corneal vascularization. However, ultraviolet light (UV) is very harmful to riboflavin, it can destroy this vitamin very easily.

Sources of riboflavin

These are the best sources of riboflavin:

  • Lamb’s liver
  • Beef’s liver
  • Hard goat cheese
  • Almonds

Riboflavin is also found in yeast, eggs, leafy vegetables, broccoli, milk, meat, mushrooms, etc.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 plays an important role in oxidation-reduction reactions (as NAD+ and NADP+). It also works in cellular activities and as an antioxidant. The human body produces niacin from tryptophan. It has two types which are; Nicotinic acid and Nicotinamide.

Nicotinamide is also known as niacinamide. It is mostly found in foods and supplements. However, nicotinic acid is mostly present in plant and animal-sourced foods and supplements. Overdose of nicotinic acid results in a condition called niacin flush.

Deficiency of Niacin (vitamin B3)

A deficiency of vitamin B3 carries a disease known as pellagra. It is very rare in the United State of America and the United Kingdom but can be found in people that drink (alcohol) too much. The symptoms of pellagra are inflamed skin, diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, insomnia, etc, it is a fatal disease.

Sources of niacin

  • Lamb’s liver
  • Peanuts
  • Turkey
  • Sunflower seeds

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)

Pantothenic acid is a part of coenzyme A and fatty acid synthase, which are essential for the production of hormones. Pantothen stands for “from all sides” which means it is available in almost every food.

These are common types of pantothenic acid and compounds that release vitamin B5:

  • Coenzyme A
  • Acyl Carrier protein
  • Calcium pantothenate
  • Panthenol

Deficiency of pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)

The deficiency of pantothenic acid is characterized by dermatitis, alopecia, enteritis, and adrenal insufficiency. Its deficiency also affects the internal organs with symptoms, such as irritability, sleep stress, digestive problems, etc.

Sources of pantothenic acid

  • Beef’s liver
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Lamb’s liver
  • Trout fish
  • Portobellos

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

It is a very important vitamin that is used to produce pyridoxal phosphate (PLP). pyridoxal phosphate is a part of metabolic reactions, such as transamination, decarboxylation, glycogen phosphorylase, etc. it is extremely important for the production of red blood cells.

These are the following types of pyridoxine:

  • Pyridoxamine
  • Pyridoxal

According to FDA, pyridoxamine is a pharmaceutical drug. Pyridoxamine phosphate is another form of pyridoxine that is available in animal-sourced foods. Similarly, pyridoxal phosphate is also found in meat.

Deficiency of vitamin B6

The deficiency of vitamin B6 is very rare but its deficiency increases the chances of cancer. The symptoms are anemia, skin rashes, confusion, depression, stress, etc.

Sources of vitamin B6

These are the most common sources to get vitamin B6:

  • Pistachio nuts
  • Beef’s liver
  • Lamb’s liver
  • Salmon fish
  • Sunflower seeds

Tuna fish, turkey, bananas, chickpeas, and potatoes are the alternative sources of vitamin B6.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

It is also known as vitamin H. it is a very important vitamin for the nourishment of hair, nails, and skincare. Biotin is essential for the metabolism process of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It is commonly binding with the digestive protein called biocytin. Biocytin release biotin, when the protein is digested by a human or animal and breakdown by the action of an enzyme called biotinidase. Biotin is also important for fatty acid synthesis and the formation of glucose.

Deficiency of biotin

Its deficiency results in neurological disorders, such as seizures, intellectual disability, and loss of muscle coordination. Other symptoms are muscle pain, heart problems, anemia, depression, etc. large doses of biotin can be harmful to the thyroid. Biotin has the ability to bind with protein, similarly, uncooked egg white has the protein called avidin which binds with the biotin and prevents the absorption of biotin for further process.

Sources of biotin

Biotin is mostly found in animal and plant-sourced foods.

  • Organ meats
  • Fish
  • Egg yolk
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Cauliflower
  • Legumes
  • Mushrooms

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Folate is derived from the Latin word folium which means leaf. The is according to its discovery, it is isolated from spinach leaves. It is discovered from yeast and lately from the leaves of spinach.

Folate is converted into tetrahydrofolate which is very important for DNA and RNA synthesis and amino acid metabolism. It is a very important vitamin during pregnancy and infancy due to the process of cell division and growth.

These are the types of vitamin B9:

  • Folic acid
  • L-methyl folate

Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9 added to foods. L-methyl folate is alternatively called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate but L-methyl folate is an active form of the vitamin.

Deficiency of Vitamin B9

Deficiencies of vitamin B9 results in neural tube defects, anemia, and prompting folate supplementation during pregnancy.

Sources of vitamin B9

These are the sources from which people can obtain vitamin B9.

  • Animal liver
  • Edamame
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach
  • Chickpeas

Yeast is also the most common source of vitamin B9.

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)

The name of vitamin B12 is cobalamin due to the presence of cobalt in it. It is extremely important for erythropoiesis and the growth of the nervous system. It is also important for cell division, DNA synthesis, and the production of red blood cells.

These are the four main types of vitamin B12:

  • Cyanocobalamin
  • Hydroxocobalamin
  • Adenosylcobalamin
  • Methylcobalamin

Cyanocobalamin is a common type of vitamin B12. it is found in trace amounts in food supplements. Hydroxocobalamin is mostly present in meat or animal-sourced foods. Similarly, adenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin are also found in foods.

Deficiency of Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Deficiency may result in pernicious anemia and degeneration of the vertebra. Other problems also arise like appetite loss, sore tongue, dementia, and neurological problems.

Sources of vitamin B12

These are sources of vitamin B12:

  • Clams
  • Lamb’s liver
  • Lamb’s kidney
  • Caviar
  • Mackerel

Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic acid)

It is a type of water-soluble vitamin that is commonly known as ascorbic acid or ascorbate. It acts as an antioxidant and the human body uses it for the synthesis and growth of collagen, wound healing, formation of bone, immune system, and blood vessels enhancement, absorption of iron, etc.

These are the types of vitamin C:

  • Ascorbic acid
  • Dehydroascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid is the most common form of vitamin C while dehydroascorbic acid is an oxidized form of ascorbic acid.

Deficiency of vitamin C

The deficiency of vitamin C results in a disorder called scurvy. This disease is characterized by the weakening and breakdown of the connective tissues. Symptoms are fatigue, weakness, inflamed gums, and spotted skin. More severe condition of scurvy results in loss of teeth, bleeding gums, skin, joint issues, drying of eyes, inflammation in the body, etc.

Sources of vitamin C

These are the most common dietary sources:

  • Guava
  • Red bell peppers
  • Kale
  • Kiwifruit
  • Broccoli

Side effects of water-soluble vitamins

Vitamins are necessary for the development of bones and other biochemical reactions in the body. Intaking of water-soluble vitamins is good but usage of larger doses may result in several harmful conditions.

These are the side effects of water-soluble vitamins:

  • Weakness
  • Stress
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Rashes
  • Allergy
  • Faintness
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Dyspepsia

Related Resources

Concepts Berg

Why Is vitamin B complex Important, and where do I get it?

Vitamin B complex is a water-soluble vitamin that is very important to maintaining a healthy life. They can be obtained from fruits, vegetables, and animal-sourced foods.

What is the difference between water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins?

Water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored in fats while fat-soluble vitamins are stored in fats and are long-lasting. However, water-soluble vitamins are not long-lasting and are required regularly by the body.

Is zinc a water-soluble vitamin?

No, it is not a vitamin.

Is vitamin C water soluble?

Yes, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and it is very essential for the growth of the body.

Which of the B vitamins is water-soluble?

This is a list of vitamin B complexes:

  • Thiamine
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Pyridoxine
  • Biotin
  • Folate
  • Cobalamin

Vitamin H is fat or water-soluble?

Biotin is called vitamin H which is a water-soluble vitamin.

What are the benefits of water-soluble vitamins?

Water-soluble vitamins are very important for human life. Their deficiency leads to different disorders. To prevent these diseases, it is better to take vitamins in a daily diet.

How does the body use water-soluble vitamins?

The body uses water-soluble vitamins to treat diseases and disorders. Vitamins are dissolved in the human body and then transport to the final stage or cell in the body for completing their action.