Which nutrients are must-haves in your diet if you want clear skin, shiny hair, an alert mind, and boatloads of energy? If you just thought “vitamins”, you’re correct! These molecules are indispensable for our health, and we should be getting them every day through the food we eat. But do you know the two different types of vitamins?
We can separate vitamins into “water-soluble” and “fat-soluble” according to whether water or fat molecules “accept” them. In this article, we’ll be focusing on water-soluble vitamins: micronutrients which are crucial to our wellbeing. Read on to learn more!
- Water-soluble vitamins are critical nutrients for your health. Their name comes from their ability to dissolve easily in water.
- Vitamin C is water-soluble, as are the B vitamins.
- If you cannot maintain a balanced diet which offers adequate amounts of water-soluble vitamins, you can always rely on nutritional supplements like liposomal multivitamins.
What Are Water-Soluble Vitamins (1, 2, 3)?
Water-soluble vitamins, also called hydrosoluble vitamins, are a type of micronutrient which can dissolve in water. This differentiates them from liposoluble vitamins, which dissolve in fat. These essential vitamins form a team whose roster is made up of vitamin C and the B vitamins.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C is a fundamental nutrient for our wellbeing. A powerful antioxidant, it protects our bodies from premature aging. Our metabolism and immune defences also require it to function properly.
- Getting enough vitamin C allows us to fight off infections better and keep our skin and joints in good condition.
- Vitamin C deficiency could make you more susceptible to all types of illnesses, as well as reducing your energy levels. Severe vitamin C deficiency (which is what’s known as “scurvy”) can even be life-threatening.
- The foods highest in ascorbic acid are fresh fruits and vegetables. These include tropical fruits like kakadu plums and camu camu, peppers, and citrus fruits.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Thiamine helps us generate energy in our day-to-day lives, allowing our cells to function adequately.
- If our bodies have enough vitamin B1, we can extract nutrients from food to generate energy.
- Thiamine deficiency can cause two illnesses, known as beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. These are both serious conditions which may cause heart problems and brain damage and can even be life-threatening.
- Thankfully, many different foods contain B1. Whole wheat and other whole grains, meat, and eggs are all magnificent sources of thiamine which help keep vitamin deficiency at bay.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 regulates a variety of highly complex chemical reactions in our bodies. It’s thanks to this vitamin that we can metabolize nutrients, medications, and other molecules such as hormones.
- Healthy levels of riboflavin allow our cells to work properly. Our tissues (especially those in our eyes) stay healthy for longer as we age.
- Vitamin B2 deficiency may manifest as sores on the corners of the lips, skin problems, and hair loss, among other issues. If the problem is not corrected, it can eventually affect vital organs like the liver and brain.
- The foods which will help you prevent B2 deficiency include meat, eggs, avocados, and tofu. It’s a very common vitamin in fresh, natural food!
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Niacin is necessary to turn the nutrients in food into energy.
- When our bodies have enough vitamin B3, it prevents fatigue and keeps our skin in good condition.
- Niacin deficiency is known as pellagra. This disease causes skin spots and skin dryness as well as indigestion. In severe cases, it can also cause psychological, psychiatric, and neurological problems.
- Add vitamin B3 to your diet by incorporating more poultry, salmon, or brown rice, to give just a few examples.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Just like the rest of its “sisters” in the B vitamin group, pantothenic acid is essential for our bodies to generate energy. Plus, this nutrient is especially important in metabolizing fat.
- Keeping healthy levels of pantothenic acid helps prevent fatigue and keep your cholesterol within healthy range.
- Vitamin B5 deficiency can be debilitating to your immune defences. It can also cause exhaustion, insomnia, and digestive problems.
- Almost all foods contain pantothenic acid. Among the products richest in this vitamin, you’ll find organ meat such as liver and tripe, whole grains, and meat (chicken or beef).
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Pyridoxine contributes to healthy metabolism and normal brain functioning. Plus, it’s necessary for creating red blood cells, which transport oxygen and nutrients.
- Getting enough pyridoxine helps us stay healthy for longer as we age, fight off anaemia, and promote healthy cognitive function.
- If you lack vitamin B6, you could suffer from anaemia, confusion, mood changes, and more frequent infections.
- Prevent pyridoxine deficiency by checking your diet and making sure you frequently eat legumes, fresh lean meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Biotin allows our bodies to metabolize the nutrients we consume and produce keratin, the protein which adds shine and strength to our hair, skin, and fingernails.
- Getting enough biotin prevents fatigue and lets our tissues stay healthy (including our hair, skin, and fingernails).
- Biotin deficiency can cause hair loss, skin rashes, apathy, feelings of sadness and even neurological problems.
- The foods highest in biotin include organ meat, eggs, and pork. Nuts are another good source of biotin for vegans.
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Folic acid is crucial for the formation of new cells in both adults and children – and especially during pregnancy.
- Healthy amounts of folic acid help us prevent some types of anaemia and lower the odds of birth defects developing during pregnancy.
- Vitamin B9 deficiency in adults can cause fatigue and weaken the body’s defences. In unborn babies, this deficit can also lead to neural tube defects (birth defects in the brain, spinal column, and spinal cord).
- The foods with the highest amounts of folic acid are leafy green vegetables such as spinach, legumes, and avocados.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
This is known as the vegan’s favourite vitamin! It’s needed to keep the nervous system healthy and synthesize red and white blood cells.
- Building up your vitamin B12 reserves allows your brain and senses to perform correctly. Plus, it prevents a condition known as megaloblastic anaemia.
- Cobalamin deficiency leads to anaemia and fatigue. If not corrected, it will eventually cause irreversible brain damage and nerve damage.
- Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal products. The vegans among you will have to rely on supplements or vitamin-fortified foods.
What Makes Water-Soluble Vitamins Special?
Hydrosoluble vitamins’ ability to dissolve in water means any excess can be disposed of quickly and easily, since the body eliminates them through urine. For that reason, they are considered safer than fat-soluble vitamins (which, if taken in excess, build up in the body and may cause poisoning).
However, taking too many different water-soluble vitamin supplements, or taking a supplement in very high doses, can still lead to adverse side effects. These may include indigestion, cramps, acne, or increased odds of contracting serious illnesses in the future.
Why Should I Use a Water-Soluble Vitamin Supplement?
A balanced diet ought to provide all the vitamins and minerals you need for everyday life. However, stressful lifestyles and nutrient-poor diets can throw off the balance, making us prone to micronutrient deficits. As such, multivitamins containing water-soluble vitamins are of help in all these situations (4, 5, 6):
- Weight loss diets which are very low in calories and nutrients.
- Vegan diets, which naturally lack vitamin B12.
- Mentally demanding situations (exam prep, starting a new job).
- Intense physical activity (competitive sports or physically demanding jobs).
- Periods of emotional stress when healthy food falls by the wayside.
Remember that water-soluble vitamin supplements should only be used to prevent or correct nutritional deficiencies which may arise in these situations. Taking them with a doctor’s supervision is preferred.
If you’re trying to become pregnant, your doctor may have suggested a nutritional supplement with water-soluble vitamins. These supplements can be taken throughout your pregnancy and continue on into breastfeeding. However, you should only ever use products which are specially made for pregnant women and have the approval of your doctor.
Can Liposome Technology Be Applied to Water-Soluble Vitamins?
Have you heard of liposomes? They’re a new “prodigy” in the pharmaceutical technology world which envelop micronutrients in small phospholipid bubbles. Phospholipids are substances very similar to our own cell membranes, meaning that they can increase nutrient absorption. This protects nutrients on their journey to our tissues, where they’ll be performing their roles in optimal condition.
By applying liposomal technology to the traditional multivitamin supplement, we’ve managed to develop a new product high in water-soluble vitamins. Phospholipids increase the absorption of vitamins whether taken alone or with food. Plus, their gel texture eliminates the need for capsules and tablets. The liposomal multivitamin has arrived!
Water-soluble vitamins are nutrients which regulate your metabolism, strengthen your tissues, and keep your body’s defences strong. A balanced diet containing plenty of fresh vegetable and animal products will help prevent the unpleasant consequences of water-soluble vitamin deficits.
Regardless, if diet is not enough for you to prevent vitamin deficiencies, consider a lifestyle change – and introducing a multivitamin nutritional supplement to your everyday life. Liposomal supplements stand out among the multivitamin products, and they provide a modern way to keep water-soluble vitamin deficiency at bay.
We hope this article helped you understand our fascinating water-soluble vitamin friends! Share this article on social media or leave us a comment – we’d love to hear your thoughts.