Fat-soluble , Water-soluble Vitamins, & Types

Jul 7, 2022 | Turito Team

vitamins

Vitamin

While talking about food and nutrients, it is common to hear the word ‘vitamin’ often. So, what are vitamins? How do they work?

A vitamin is an organic compound that people must consume daily but in small quantities. It is common for most vitamins to come from foods as our bodies do not produce them. There are various types of vitamins present in this world. Every organism has specific vitamin requirements for its body. Also, each vitamin has specific roles which might differ depending on various factors.

In this informative blog, let’s take a look at vitamins and how they are classified.

What is a vitamin?

We can consider vitamins as organic substances which are contained in small amounts in natural food items. Vitamins have carbon content present in it. It is a fundamental nutrient in our body, and having too little of it can cause serious illnesses and health problems. 

Fat-soluble Vitamins and Water-soluble Vitamins

Usually, vitamins are either soluble or insoluble in fat or water. We can easily classify vitamins in two major ways. Let us see what those are:

  1. Fat-soluble vitamins:

The fat-soluble vitamins include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Our body is capable of storing fat-soluble vitamins in the liver and fatty tissue. These vitamins can stay inside our body for a specific amount of time, for days or even months. Moreover, with dietary fats, our bodies absorb fat-soluble vitamins. It happens through the intestinal tract.

  1. Water-soluble vitamins:

In general, water-soluble vitamins cannot stay in the body for a longer period of time. It is not possible to store them either. They are capable of leaving the body via urine. Due to that reason, we require more water-soluble vitamins to be supplied to our bodies compared to the fat ones.

Examples of water-soluble vitamins are:

  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C

13 Vitamin Types

There are 13 types of vitamins. Let us go through them one after the other in detail:

Type of the Vitamin

(with Chemical name)

Soluble Type Function Deficiency Good sources
Vitamin A

(retinol)

Vitamin A is fat-soluble. A major reason for consuming Vitamin A is to improve vision power and eye health. Vitamin A can cause night blindness. It can also cause keratomalacia (a deficiency that can make our front eye grow dry and cloudy). Some of the Vitamin A-rich food sources include:

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cod liver oil
  • Liver
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Butter
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Few cheese varieties
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Melon
  • Apricots
Vitamin B1

(thiamine)

Vitamin B1 is water-soluble. It is a fundamental component used to produce different enzymes which can help break the blood sugar down. Deficiency in Vitamin B1 can cause beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Some of the Vitamin B1-rich food sources include:

  • Pork
  • Yeast
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Oranges
  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Asparagus
  • Whole-grain rye
  • Brown rice
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cereal grains
Vitamin B2

(riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 is water-soluble. B2 Vitamin is very important in metabolising food. It also plays a vital role in the growth and development of body cells. Some of the symptoms of deficiency of B2 Vitamin are fissures in the mouth and inflammation of the lips. Some of the Vitamin B2-rich food sources include:

  • Green beans
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Yoghurt
  • Cheese
  • Cottage
  • Chard
  • Okra
  • Persimmons
  • Bananas
  • Asparagus
Vitamin B3

(niacin)

Vitamin B3 is water-soluble. The human body needs to have niacin for the appropriate growth and working of cells. Low B3 Vitamin levels in our body can cause a common health issue called pellagra. It can further result in intestinal upset, skin changes and diarrhoea. Some of the Vitamin B3-rich food sources include:

  • Lentils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Tofu
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Beef
  • Chicken
Vitamin B5

(pantothenic acid)

Vitamin B5 is water-soluble Vitamin B5 plays a crucial role in producing hormones and energy. Some symptoms of deficiency of B5 Vitamin include fatigue, disturbed sleep, headache, stomach cramps, muscle cramps, etc. Some of the Vitamin B5-rich food sources include:

  • Yoghurt
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Whole grains
Vitamin B6

(pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 is water-soluble. Vitamin B6 is majorly used in the formation of red blood cell platelets. Some of the symptoms of deficiency of B6 Vitamin include weakened immune function, confusion, depression and swollen tongue. Some of the Vitamin B6-rich food sources include:

  • Nuts
  • Squash
  • Bananas
  • Beef liver
  • Chickpeas
Vitamin B7

(biotin)

Vitamin B7 is water-soluble. The main purpose of Vitamin B7 is to enable the body to metabolise fats, carbohydrates and proteins. In addition, it also plays a key role in keratin (protein structure present in the skin, nails and hair). Having low B7 Vitamin levels can cause inflammation of the intestines or dermatitis. Some of the Vitamin B7-rich food sources include:

  • Cheese
  • Egg yolk
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Liver 
Vitamin B9

(folic acid)

Vitamin B9 is water-soluble. The main objective of B9 Vitamins is to produce RNA & DNA. One of the major health issues caused due to deficiency of Vitamin B9 is affecting the fetus’s nervous system during pregnancy. Therefore, the expert doctors suggest folic acid supplements in order to avoid that. Some of the Vitamin B9-rich food sources include:

  • Legumes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Liver
  • Peas
  • Few fortified grain products
  • Some fruits
Vitamin B12

(cyanocobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is water-soluble. The sole purpose of Vitamin B12 is to maintain a healthy nervous system. Deficiency in the B12 Vitamin levels can cause some types of anaemia and neurological problems. Some of the Vitamin B12-rich food sources include:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Milk
  • Some dairy products
  • Fortified soy products
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified nutritional yeast
Vitamin C

(ascorbic acid)

Vitamin C is water-soluble. Some of the functions include wound healing, collagen production and bone formation. Furthermore, Vitamin C supports the immune system, acts as an antioxidant, strengthens blood vessels and assists the body in absorbing iron. Vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy. Hence, people may suffer from losing teeth, gum bleeding and poor tissue growth. Some of the Vitamin C-rich food sources include fresh vegetables and fruits (either medium-cooked or uncooked)
Vitamin D

(ergocalciferol)

Vitamin D is fat-soluble. It is essential for the bone’s healthy mineralisation. Some of the common diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency are osteomalacia, rickets and softening of bones. Sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D. in addition; people can consume:

  • Mushrooms
  • Beef liver
  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish

as all these food items contain Vitamin D.

Vitamin E

(tocopherol)

Vitamin E is fat-soluble. The antioxidant activity present in Vitamin E food items can help prevent oxidative stress. It is an issue which can potentially increase the widespread risk of inflammation and multiple other diseases. Deficiency in Vitamin E can rarely result in haemolytic anaemia in infants. In addition, this condition is capable of destroying blood cells. Some of the Vitamin E-rich food sources include:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Almonds
  • Kiwis
  • Wheat germ
Vitamin K

(phylloquinone)

Vitamin K is fat-soluble. Its function is widely used in blood clotting. Vitamin K deficiency may result in bleeding diathesis or abnormal susceptibility to bleeding. Some of the Vitamin K-rich food sources include:

  • Parsley
  • Figs
  • Pumpkins
  • Leafy greens
  • Natto

What is a vitamin supplement?

A vitamin supplement is in the form of a tablet, powder or liquid containing adequate vitamin content required for the body.

Nowadays, it has become more common for people to take vitamin supplements and various other supplements in order to protect their health. However, if you could follow a proper diet plan, you would not require supplementary tablets.

Fruits and vegetables are usually considered primary sources of vitamins. Hence, consuming the required amounts can increase your vitamin levels and make you less vulnerable to vitamin deficiency diseases.

Moreover, fortified foods and supplements can be good on some occasions, but you should be cautious and not take too much of them, as they may involve major side effects in the future. Many dietary types of research prove that higher doses of supplements can result in major health issues. 

Therefore, consulting a specialist before taking these supplements is advisable.

Conclusion

All in all, we have seen top to the bottom regarding vitamins in this article, starting from knowing ‘what are vitamins’ to different types of vitamins and diseases caused due to their deficiencies. In addition, we have also talked briefly about vitamin supplements and their uses and side effects.

Therefore, we should be very conscious about our health and always monitor our vitamin contents. Try to eat healthy meals such as fruits, vegetables and grains while avoiding fast food and street food items.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are vitamins?

   Vitamins are organic compounds that are essential for the body to survive. Vitamins consist of carbons and other fundamental minerals and nutrients. We should consume an adequate amount of vitamins in order to avoid suffering from various vitamin deficiency diseases.

Q. What are the 13 different types of vitamins?

The following are the 13 types of vitamins:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B7
  • Vitamin B9
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Q. Mention some of the vitamin-rich foods.

Given below are a few vitamin-rich foods that everyone should consume:

  • Cereals
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Meat
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Grains

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