There are 13 essential vitamins our bodies need. These can be divided into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. What’s the difference? The difference comes down to how they act within the body. Here’s what you need to know:
Fat Soluble: Vitamins A, D, E, and K
Fat-soluble vitamins are soluble in fats. They are absorbed by fat globules that travel through the small intestines and into the general blood circulation within the body. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body when they are not in use. Typically, they are stored in the liver and fat tissues. Although only small amounts of these vitamins are necessary to maintain good health, Vitamin D deficiency has been reported as a growing public health concern. It has been associated with an increased risk of certain diseases. Fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamin A (palmitate form), Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
Here are the roles fat-soluble vitamins play in your body:
VITAMIN A Enhancing vision, immunity, bone growth, and the production of new cells are just a few of the roles this powerful antioxidant plays. Available in fat-soluble (Palmitate) and water-soluble (Beta Carotene) forms.
VITAMIN D The sunshine Vitamin’s myriad talents include supporting heart health, blood sugar levels, healthy aging, immunity, and strengthening bones. It plays a key role in helping the body absorb calcium.
VITAMIN E Vitamin E is an antioxidant that supports the immune system, helps to improve blood circulation, protects against cell damage, and promotes the healing of tissues.
VITAMIN K Sometimes known as “the forgotten vitamin” Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is well known for its blood clotting capabilities and is absolutely essential to building strong bones and cardiovascular health. It is found in spinach, soybeans, and eggs, but is hard for the body to absorb.
Water Soluble: Vitamins B and C
Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water, which means these vitamins and nutrients dissolve quickly in the body. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues, but the body cannot store them. Any excess amounts of water-soluble vitamins simply pass through the body. Because these vitamins are needed by our bodies, we need to make sure we intake these vitamins on a regular basis. Water soluble vitamins include Vitamin C and the vitamin B complex: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6, biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), Vitamin B12. Vitamin A in its Beta-Carotene form is also water-soluble.
Here are the roles water-soluble vitamins play in your body:
VITAMIN C This famous “cold” fighter is a strong antioxidant known for strengthening the immune system by fighting off colds and other infectious diseases. It helps promote cardiovascular and eye health, and ward off wrinkles and the signs of aging skin.
THIAMIN HCL (Vitamin B1) The body needs B1 to convert food into energy, and for DNA and RNA to work together. It plays a role in maintaining heart function and a healthy nervous system.
RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2) The “yellow” B Vitamin that can be used for food coloring is essential to the creation of red blood cells and cell growth. It promotes healthy muscle, nerve, and heart function and affects certain enzyme functions.
NIACIN (VITAMIN B3) Essential for converting food to energy, Niacin helps to maintain cardiovascular health. It also promotes a healthy nervous system, as well as healthy skin, hair, and eyes.
PANTOTHENIC ACID (VITAMIN B5) Vitamin B5 supports metabolism and helps to convert food into energy. It aids in overall growth and development, supports the adrenal glands, and is critical in the production of hemoglobin.
VITAMIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE) This Vitamin B superstar supports healthy brain function and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It aids in the production of serotonin and helps to maintain the health of the nervous system, immune system, and red blood cells.
BIOTIN Biotin, also known as B7, promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails. It is needed for the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, and regulating blood sugar levels.
FOLIC ACID (VITAMIN B9) Vitamin B9 is an essential player in the development of a healthy central nervous system in embryos. Ongoing, it supports nervous system function, repairs DNA damaged by toxins, and aids in the production of blood cells.
VITAMIN B12 This powerful B vitamin, that the body does not produce, has a hand in nerve function and development. It helps to keep blood cells healthy and to produce DNA. It can also aid in the prevention of certain types of anemia. It is the exception to water soluble vitamins as it can be stored in your liver.