What are Vitamins?

The vitamins are different from minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids.  The vitamins have various biochemical functions. Vitamins are of six types namely vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E & vitamin K. Each vitamin has unique properties and molecular structures. This will take care of various biochemical functions in the body.  Maximum vitamins are not made up of single molecules, but groups of molecules called vitamers.

Vitamins are an essential part of maintaining biochemical functions in the human body. Vitamin is also an essential component for maintaining good health. 

Vitamins are of two types –

  1. Fat-soluble (easily stored in fat upon absorption)

  2. Water-soluble (washed out and not easily stored).

Although apart from their characteristics, all vitamins are essential for health. Consuming vitamins with regular food is essential, and it also prevents deficiency, which causes a lack of vitamins.

The water-soluble vitamins are Vitamin C and Vitamin B complex. The types of vitamin B are thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folate, and cobalamin.       


Water-soluble vitamins can be consumed easily regularly—any foods, especially green vegetables and fresh fruits, are vibrant with vitamins. Also, milk, eggs, butter, meat, legumes, peas, liver, fortified grains, and cereals contain the exact amount of vitamin that is needed regularly.

By research, it is proven that the vitamin B complex is essential for average body growth. It also helps develop healthy skin, red blood cell formation, the proper function of nerves and the heart.

The Extreme lack of water-soluble vitamins is rare in North America. For those who consume alcohol in high amounts, malabsorption syndromes, strict veganism, and malnourished states also cause vitamin deficiency in their body.

The molecular substance present in the organic substance is called vitamins. The vitamin which is soluble in water is termed water-soluble vitamins. The degree of dissolving vitamins in water varies depending on substance properties. The degree of solubility varies depending on the property that influences the route of absorption, the excretion rate, and the level of tissue stage. The water-soluble vitamins are extracted and stored in different methods. This molecule contains major elements like carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Some combinations of vitamins also contain sulfur, nitrogen, or cobalt. 

Water-Soluble Vitamins

List of Water Soluble Vitamins

Elements Found


Ascorbic acid








Folic Acid, Pantothonic acid, biotin

The water-soluble vitamins functions are mostly inactive in their free state, and it gets activated with their coenzyme forms. The addition of phosphate groups helps in the activation of thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. The modification in structure helps to activate biotin. Many complex molecules are involved in activating niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, and vitamin B12. Once the coenzyme activation occurred in vitamins, they started to combine with proper protein components, this process is termed as apoenzyme. This is the initial stage to undergo enzyme-catalyzed reactions. 

Water-Soluble Vitamins Functions

The enzyme system requires transferring certain groups between molecules for the formation of vitamin B coenzymes. As a result of the formation of coenzymes, specific proteins, fats and carbohydrates are synthesized and utilized for the production of body tissues or to store or release energy. For the formation of pantothenic acid coenzymes, vitamins need to undergo the tricarboxylic acid cycle.

This process is also known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle.  This process gets interconnected with carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. This coenzyme A acts as a hub for the reaction, as this molecule is controlling the interconversion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins further, they are converted into metabolic energy. 

During the citric acid cycle, thiamin and vitamin B6 coenzymes limit the conversion of carbohydrates and proteins respectively. Niacin and riboflavin coenzymes help to transfer hydrogen ions or electrons, this mainly occurs during the tricarboxylic acid cycle. These coenzymes also facilitate transfer reactions. This reaction is not a part of the tricarboxylic acid cycle.  

The vitamin C enzyme-catalyzed reaction does not involve coenzyme formation. Its functional characteristics are related to the properties of a strong reducing agent. 

Metabolism through Water Soluble Vitamins

The water-soluble vitamins get absorbed in the animal intestine and directly passed into the blood. The cells and tissues start utilizing it. Vitamin B12 requires a substance to get absorbed, it is known as an intrinsic factor. Some states of Vitamin B cannot be absorbed directly by animals. The animal intestine cannot absorb niacytin, which is the bounded form of niacin present in cereals grains. The raw egg white contains avidin, the bounded form of biotin.

The digestive tract enzymes cannot absorb or break down such vitamins and remain unutilized. The biotin, vitamin B6, and folic acid are bound with other molecules to form complexes or conjugated molecules in animal products. Although, none of the vitamins are active. These three vitamins normally release the bounds by the action of enzymes in the intestinal tract or the tissues. Both plants and animal tissues distribute vitamin B for metabolism. 

The water-soluble vitamins get excreted through the urine. Elements like thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, biotin, niacin, and pantothenic acid are excreted as free vitamins in urine. The products formed using the above vitamins can also be identified in urine. The excretion of vitamins through urine gets reduced once one starts intaking sufficient quantities.

If the intake satisfies the minimal requirement, the excess vitamins will get stored in the tissues. As the tissue storage capacity is less, the excretion level starts to increase sharply once the tissues get saturated. Some water-soluble vitamins named vitamin B12, folic acid, and biotin get excreted through the feces. The source of water-soluble vitamins for this discharge is intestinal bacteria.

The water-soluble vitamins functions are generally toxic if it is taken in excessive amounts. But this has some exceptions in human beings. While an excess level of niacin helps for the dilation of blood vessels, an excessive amount of niacin impacts liver function. If the thiamin exceeds the requirement level by 100 times, it may result in respiratory failure. The recommended doses of thiamin do not cause such toxic effects in human beings. No other vitamin B causes such toxicity. 

Effect of Water-Soluble Vitamins

Lack of any vitamin in the body may cause serious issues. So, here is a discussion that would help one get more information about water-soluble vitamins from Vedantu.

  • Thiamine (B1)

Lack of thiamine causes beriberi, which is a severe medical condition. In that case, one starts to lose weight and appetite. They start to feel weak. In some cases, one may lose their memory.

  • Riboflavin (B2)

Deficiency of riboflavin causes infection in lips and mouth.

  •  Niacin (B3)

A severe deficiency of niacin can lead to pellagra. It includes dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea. This kind of disease may carry toward malnutrition and weakness.

There is also some deficiency like anemia, malnutrition, and many more caused by other vitamins.

  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid, ascorbate)

Vitamin C helps in collagen growth, bone formation, enhancing the immune system, absorbing iron, wound healing, strengthening blood vessels, and acting as an antioxidant. A resulting lack of Vitamin C causes scurvy. That has the symptoms like loss of teeth, poor wound healing, swollen and bleeding gums, and poor tissue growth.


Vitamins are the organic substances present in natural food supplements. Vitamins are made up of organic molecules, which is an essential micronutrient that helps to function proper metabolism in the body. These essential nutrients cannot be synthesized by themselves. So, it is important for every organism to tabulate its diet chart including vitamins. Students can follow Vedantu to learn about water-soluble vitamins explained by experienced and expert teachers.

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FAQs on Water Soluble Vitamins

1. What does it mean by 'Water-soluble vitamin?

Vitamin is one of the essential things in the human body. It helps to give the body a healthy touch every day.

There are two kinds of vitamins, and those are fat-soluble and water-soluble. From a nutritional standpoint, one needs that macronutrient to absorb the micronutrients. Water-soluble vitamins form a homogeneous mixture with water. It does not form a colloidal solution. For example, one can say vitamin B and Vitamin C is water-soluble vitamin.

2. What kind of deficiency disorder can be seen for lack of water-soluble vitamins?

Vitamin is one of the essential nutrients that a person needs to fulfill everyday needs. Vitamin B and Vitamin C is water-soluble vitamin.

  • For vitamin B, there can be various disorders in someone's body.  

  • Like Scurvy, bleeding gums, loss of teeth, poor tissue growth, poor wound healing can occur for lack of vitamin B-complex.

  • ATP (adenosine triphosphate) depletion affects brain nerve and heart for vitamin B1.

  • Cheilosis and corneal vascularization for Vitamin B2.

  • Deficiency of vitamin B3 occurs in Malnutrition, facial flushing.

  • Anemia, hyperirritability, convulsions, mental confusion for VitaminB6.

  • Pernicious anemia and pain of the spinal cord can occur for VitaminB12.

  • There are also various deficiencies that can be caused by water-soluble vitamins.

3. How can the deficiency disorder by water-soluble vitamins be cured?

To fight various deficiency disorders caused by vitamins that can be cured by having proper food. One must consume water-soluble vitamins, including cereal grains, loaves of bread, and other food like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, milk, and various vegetables. Vitamin B and Vitamin C are included in the category of a water-soluble vitamin.

If anyone is so busy that they can not take proper food, then any supplement contains vitamins.

4. Why must students know about vitamins?

Vitamin itself is a very crucial part of biology, especially for nutrition. To apply in real life or for a bright future, one must clearly understand this chapter. By reading both water-soluble and fat-soluble students can know which food contains which kind of vitamin. They can plan a proper diet as per their need. They also came to know which kind of deficiency occurs in lack of vitamins. So the chapter of vitamins is one of the most important parts of studying for students.

5. Where can a student get accurate information about water-soluble vitamins for their Study?

Without any doubt, Vedantu will give them the best suggestions and helpful guides about the topic of a water-soluble vitamin.

Vedantu is one of the best learning platforms where students can get help on physics, chemistry, biology, and any other. Not only that, but Vedantu also provides courses, study material, online classes, and thousands of blogs and videos for Study. Mainly the students of  ICSE and CBSE can get maximum help from Vedantu.

6. What Do Vitamins Do for the Body?

Vitamins and minerals are the essential nutrients for a healthy life. Each and every nutrient plays hundreds of roles in the human body.  They support the growth of bones, eyesight, heal wounds, boost the immune system, supports the healing of various disorders..etc. They help to convert food into energy and assist to repair cellular damage. The vitamins are broadly classified into two types, they are water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins.

7. How Long Do Vitamins Last in Your Body?

According to the research of Amway scientists, the self-life for the vitamins is two years. This may vary depending on the type of vitamin and its exposure conditions.   As the vitamins are of two types as water-soluble and fat-soluble, If the water-soluble vitamins are explored to water, it gets saturated. So, those cannot sustain for whole two years. Taking vitamins in the daily routine improves body health.

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