Advertisement
Vitamins are classified as water soluble and fat soluble. The former cannot be stored in the body, as they dissolve in water, whereas the latter can be stored in the body, as they dissolve in fats or lipids. The water-soluble vitamins are thrown out of the body along with the waste materials, regularly. Therefore our body needs to be replenished with these vitamins every day.

List 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 (folic acid)
  • Vitamin B12 (various cobalamins)
  • Vitamin C
Thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and biotin are required for the production of energy. Pyridoxine plays an important role in amino acid metabolism. Various cobalamins and folic acid are essential for important metabolic processes, like the process of cell division. Pantothenic acid helps prevent skin conditions like acne, and a rare condition known as paresthesia (prickling or burning sensation of skin with no apparent long-term physical effect). Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that help reduce the effects of free radicals on the body. It lowers the levels of bad cholesterol, and strengthens the immune system. It is essential for maintaining and repairing the body tissues. It strengthens the blood vessels by promoting the absorption of calcium and iron.

Yeast, liver, eggs, and some vegetables contain B vitamins. Most fruits and some vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, carrot, tomato, turnip, etc., contain vitamin C. These foods can be incorporated into daily diet to avoid vitamin deficiencies.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin B1 or Thiamine

Function:
  • Helps produce energy from carbohydrates
  • Promotes smooth functioning of the heart, muscles, and the nervous system
  • Enhances blood formation and improves blood circulation
  • Essential for proper growth of children
Deficiency Effects:
  • Excessive weakness
  • Nerve damage
  • Beriberi, resulting in severe leg cramps, weak muscles, and inflammation of heart
  • In severe cases, heart failure and death
Food Sources: Berries, green vegetables, lean meat, legumes, nuts, pork, wheat germ, whole grain cereals
Recommended Daily Intake: Men: 1.2 mg, Women: 1.1 mg


Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin

Function:
  • Involved in the synthesis of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • Helps maintain the health of mucus membranes in the digestive tract
  • Promotes the absorption of vitamin B6 and iron
  • Reduces the chances of formation of cataract
Deficiency Effects:
  • Hair loss
  • Light sensitivity
  • Skin lesions near the nose and mouth
  • Dizziness
Food Sources: Dark green vegetables, eggs, fish, grains, lean meat, legumes, milk
Recommended Daily Intake: Men: 1.3 mg, Women: 1.1 mg


Vitamin B3 or Niacin

Function:
  • Helps maintain normal body metabolism
  • Boosts the production of energy from nutrients
  • Lowers bad cholesterol level and raises good cholesterol level
Deficiency Effects:
  • Pellagra, resulting in skin irritation on exposure to sunlight
  • Mental confusion
  • Diarrhea and swollen tongue
Food Sources: Fish, lean meat, peanuts, poultry, whole grains
Recommended Daily Intake: Men: 16 mg, Women: 14 mg


Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid

Function:
  • Boosts the production of energy, and promotes the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
  • Promotes adrenal gland function and stimulates hormone release
  • Stimulates red blood cell formation and bile production
Deficiency Effects:
  • Excessive weakness
  • Nausea
  • Tingling in hands
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
Food Sources: Beef, eggs, legumes, mushrooms, vegetables, whole grains
Recommended Daily Intake: Men: 5 mg, Women: 5 mg


Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine

Function:
  • Regulates the metabolism of protein
  • Promotes red blood cell and hemoglobin formation
  • Stimulates the function of the immune and nervous system
Deficiency Effects:
  • Kidney stone formation
  • Skin diseases and disorders
  • Dizziness
  • Convulsions
Food Sources: Avocados, bananas, fish, green beans, poultry, spinach, whole grains
Recommended Daily Intake: Men: 1.3 mg, Women: 1.3 mg


Vitamin B7 or Biotin

Function:
  • Promotes the production of energy from food
  • Promotes the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
  • Helps maintain the health of the skin, hair, and nails
Deficiency Effects:
  • Reduced appetite
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Muscle pain
  • Very dry skin
Food Sources: Cheese, egg yolk, green vegetables, liver, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes
Recommended Daily Intake: Men: 30 mcg, Women: 30 mcg


Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid

Function:
  • Controls amino acid levels in blood
  • Promotes the synthesis of DNA for normal cell division
  • Enhances hemoglobin and protein formation
Deficiency Effects:
  • Swollen tongue
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Affects growth
  • Birth defects that cause brain disorders
Food Sources: Citrus juice, fortified grains and products, legumes, green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, etc.), nuts
Recommended Daily Intake: Men: 400 mcg, Women: 400 mcg


Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin

Function:
  • Stimulates protein and red blood cell formation
  • Essential for healthy functioning of the nervous system
Deficiency Effects:
  • Anemia
  • Nervous system damage, peripheral neuropathy
  • Memory loss
  • Weakness
Food Sources: Eggs, fish, fortified breakfast cereal, liver, meat, and milk
Recommended Daily Intake: Men: 2.4 mcg, Women: 2.4 mcg


Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid

Function:
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Boosts the absorption of iron and calcium
  • Essential for overall improvement and enhancement of health
Deficiency Effects:
  • Scurvy, resulting in bleeding into the skin
  • Frequent infections
  • Weakness
Food Sources: Black current, guava, melon, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
Recommended Daily Intake: Men: 90 mg, Women: 75 mg


Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K are fat soluble, though they are structurally similar. They get dissolved in fats or lipids, which are then stored by the body for future use. In spite of a healthy diet, one may get affected by deficiency of vitamins, which are soluble in water. So, not only a healthy diet, but a balanced diet can fulfill their recommended dietary allowance. The aforementioned list can come in handy, and help you enjoy the health benefits through proper diet.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.