We know that vitamins are of different types, but most of us don’t know what they are. Medical researchers and scientists have broadly classified vitamins into water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. Different types of vitamins play different roles in your body. If you know your vitamins inside and out, you can easily curate a wholesome diet for yourself that is not lacking in any way.
But often times people are unaware of the differences between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. So, let’s understand how they are different from each other-
Difference Between Fat Soluble and Water Soluble Vitamin
Let’s go through the following table to know the differences between water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins:
|Water-Soluble Vitamins||Fat-Soluble Vitamins|
|Dissolve in water.||Dissolve in fat.|
|Excess gets excreted out.||Excess gets stored in the body.|
|Toxicity is low.||Toxicity is comparatively higher.|
|Can travel freely in the bloodstream.||Needs protein as carrier to travel in the bloodstream.|
|Hydrophilic in nature.||Hydrophobic in nature.|
|Symptoms of deficiency start to appear quickly.||Symptoms of deficiency appear slowly.|
|Examples of water-soluble vitamins are
C and B complex.
|Examples of fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K.|
What are Water-Soluble Vitamins?
With its self-explanatory name, you might have figured out that water-soluble vitamins get dissolved in water and are instantly absorbed into the tissues of your body. This type of vitamin is not stored by the body and any excess water-soluble vitamin gets excreted out via urine.
Hence, an overdose of water-soluble vitamins is hardly an issue.
But, since your body is incapable of storing this type of vitamin, you must incorporate enough water-soluble vitamins into your diet to fill your body’s daily vitamin needs.
Examples of water-soluble vitamins are vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12) and vitamin C.
Benefits of Water-Soluble Vitamins
Each water-soluble vitamin has individual benefits for your body. According to the National Library of Medicine, Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, acts as an antioxidant, strengthens blood vessels, and boosts overall immunity. It is also responsible for collagen growth that boosts wound healing, and bone formation.
Vitamin B complex collectively performs various roles to ensure the smooth functioning of your body and keep it healthy. Vitamin B1 helps in the breakdown of glucose from food that turns to energy and also maintains the nervous system. Vitamin B2 and B3 help in digestion and maintaining good eyesight. While vitamin B6 plays a crucial role in the formation of red blood cells (RBC)
Sources of Water-Soluble Vitamins
Some natural sources of water-soluble vitamins:
- Citrus fruits
- Green leafy vegetables
- Milk products
- Nuts and legumes
What are Fat-Soluble Vitamins?
Fat-soluble vitamins, unlike water-soluble ones, get absorbed by fat particles in the intestines which then travel to your entire body via the bloodstream.
Fat-soluble vitamins are slower to dissolve and any excess of them is stored in the liver and fat tissues of your body for future use. An overdose may lead to vitamin toxicity since the excess fat-soluble vitamins do not get excreted like water-soluble vitamins.
Examples of fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K.
Benefits of Fat-Soluble Vitamin
Fat-soluble vitamins play multiple roles in keeping your body fit and healthy. According to an article published in The Clinical Biochemist Reviews, vitamin A promotes good eyesight, inhibits growth of tumour cells, and improves immune system. While vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium and maintains overall bone health including teeth.
Vitamin E has high antioxidant properties, and also plays an active role in preventing cardiovascular diseases. And finally, vitamin K, which is a prime factor in maintaining blood clotting and bone health.
Sources of Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Some natural sources of fat-soluble vitamins:
- Egg yolk
- Fatty fish
- Vegetable oil
- Seeds and nuts
- Whole grains
- Dark green leafy vegetables
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s go through some of the frequently asked questions on fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins:
Q. What is the difference between fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins?
A. Fat-soluble vitamins get absorbed by fats and travel through the bloodstream while water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and get absorbed by tissues immediately.
Q. What is a characteristic of water-soluble vitamins?
A. The main characteristic of this type of vitamin is that it dissolves in water. Also, it is a transient vitamin as any excess amount of water-soluble vitamins in the body gets excreted.
Q. What are the functions of water-soluble vitamins?
A. Water-soluble vitamins are major contributing factors in improving your immune system, nervous system, bone formation, RBC formation, and good vision.
Q. Is vitamin C water-soluble or fat-soluble?
A. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin.
Q. When should you take fat-soluble vitamins?
A. Most of the vitamin needs of your body are acquired through food. Make sure to eat a wholesome meal that includes whole grains, green vegetables, and proteins like milk and egg. All these ingredients are enough for your daily dose of fat-soluble vitamins.
Q. What is the deficiency of water-soluble vitamins?
A. Severe deficiency of vitamin C and B complex can lead to conditions like impaired neural function, muscle weakness, fatigue, and immunodeficiency.
Q. How can you remember which vitamins are fat soluble and which are water-soluble?
A. Except for A, D, E, and K, all other vitamins are water-soluble vitamins.