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The Basics of Water Soluble Vitamins

The human body uses two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. In the debate over the necessity of vitamin supplementation, nutrition experts generally agree that there may be a need for water-soluble vitamins supplementation. These vitamins are called water-soluble because they are dissolved in water. This property of the vitamins means that the body does not easily store them. You must consume foods with these vitamins on a daily basis.

The vitamins that make up water-soluble vitamins include the B-complex vitamins (B1-thiamine, B2-riboflavin, B3-niacin, B5-pantothenic acid, B6-biotin, B12-cobalamins, and folic acid) and vitamin C. The B-complex vitamins provide various bodily functions, including energy production, nerve cell, and carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolizing. Most people who eat a normal diet containing a variety of foods should have no problem getting enough of these vitamins everyday. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential for preventing the accumulation of free radicals in the system. Having a sufficient amount of vitamin C is associated with a low risk of heart disease and cataracts.

Depending on where you live, there are standards for what is required for both vitamins. There are varying recommendations for the B-complex vitamins. In general, you need 50 milligrams of vitamin C each day. This amount is lower or higher depending on your age, sex, health status, and if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. This amount is only a guideline. You should discuss your personal needs with a health professional that can make a proper assessment of your dietary needs.

The most common foods that contain vitamins C include green vegetables, organ meats, and citrus fruits. The B-complex vitamins are a large group. Following a diet that includes a variety of foods including nuts, beans, whole grains, organ meats, fish, and poultry should give you the amount of B-complex vitamins your body needs.

Vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins are available in mega doses. Although excessive amounts of water-soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine, doing so can also result in stomach upset and other unpleasant side effects. You should never consume large doses of vitamins with approval from your medical doctor. If you and a health professional determine that you are not getting enough of these vitamins, supplementation may be a consideration.

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