Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development. It is one of the many vitamins that are divided into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are absorbed by fat, while water-soluble vitamins (all other than these four) dissolve in water. Understanding the difference between the two is important, as it affects how vitamins are stored in the body, how they can cause harm if ingested in excess or not in sufficient quantity, and more. Water-soluble vitamins are those that dissolve in water and are easily absorbed into tissues for immediate use.
Any excess of excess is quickly eliminated through the urine. Because they are not stored in the body, water-soluble vitamins must be replenished regularly through the diet. Water-soluble vitamins rarely build up to toxic levels. That said, certain types of water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, can cause diarrhea if taken in excess. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water immediately.
Once the body has the amount it needs, the kidneys eliminate the rest of the body. Fresh fruits, including citrus and berries, as well as tomatoes and peppers, are excellent sources of vitamin C. B vitamins are found in a variety of foods, such as meat and dairy products. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, excess fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty (adipose) tissues for future use. They are found more abundantly in high-fat foods and are better absorbed if eaten with fat.
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is crucial for a variety of processes in the body. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supports growth and development and helps the body absorb iron. Since the body doesn't produce or store vitamin C, it's important to include vitamin C in your diet. Knowing which vitamins do what and which are water- or fat-soluble will save you a bit of a headache. Vitamin supplements can offer health-improving benefits, but they can sometimes interact with medications or cause complications with an existing health condition. Here's what you need to know about what water-soluble vitamins are, what they do, and how to make sure you're getting enough.
Although they play an important role in health and body functions, not all vitamins are created equal. A general lack of water-soluble vitamins is rare in North America, although it can occur in alcohol use disorder, malabsorption syndromes, strict veganism, and states of malnutrition. However, while fat-soluble vitamins are stored for a long period of time in the liver and fatty tissues, the water-soluble vitamins are mostly eliminated from the body. The deficiency of any of these water-soluble vitamins causes a clinical syndrome that can cause serious morbidity and mortality. While it is tempting to simply obtain levels of water-soluble vitamins in urine or serum, they only reflect levels of vitamins that are currently circulating and cannot approximate storage levels. However, certain health conditions, dietary restrictions, or lifestyle circumstances may limit your ability to get certain vitamins. For example, vegetarians and vegans may need to take a vitamin B supplement since thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin, biotin, and pantothenic acid are examples of water-soluble B vitamins.
If you are deficient in a certain vitamin B, you may need to increase your intake of certain foods. Once dissolved and absorbed into the bloodstream to nourish the body, any excess that isn't absorbed is eliminated through the urine. While most people don't need to take a vitamin B supplement, vegetarians and vegans are one of the few exceptions.