Difference Between Water-Soluble and Fat-Soluble Vitamins

The difference between water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins is primarily due to the difference in absorption and excretion rates inside a body. Water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins are the two major classes or groups of vitamins required to maintain good health.

Absorption: Water-soluble vitamins are readily absorbed in the small intestine, while fat-soluble vitamins are first absorbed in the lymph, later stored inside a liver and fatty tissues.

Excretion: Water-soluble vitamins swiftly excrete out of the body, whereas fat-soluble vitamins remain in the body for much more extended periods.

We all know that our diet should be balanced, which means we must take food supplemented with all the vitamins in trace amounts. In this post, we will study the key differences and similarities between the water and fat-soluble vitamins along with the comparison chart. Besides that, definition and types have also been discussed.

Content: Water-Soluble Vs Fat-Soluble Vitamins

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition
  3. Types of Vitamins
  4. Key Differences
  5. Similarities
  6. Conclusion

Comparison Chart

PropertiesWater-soluble vitaminsFat-soluble vitamins
TypesVitamin B and CVitamin A, D, E and K
SolubilityIn waterIn lipids
AbsorptionIn the small intestineIn the lymphatic system
TransportMoves into the body via diffusion through the bloodstreamRequires carrier matrix for the transportation
ConsumptionBody tissues quickly consume these vitamins, which need to replenish daily in our dietNot readily consumed by the body and need to replenish periodically in our diet (once a week or a month)
ExcretionEasily excreted through urineNot readily excreted
ToxicityRarely cause toxicityCan cause toxicity if its quantity overdoses
StorageAll the vitamins replace out the body quickly, except vitamin-B12 (stores in liver).In the liver and adipose tissues

Definition of Water Soluble Vitamins

As the term indicates, they are soluble in water. Water-soluble vitamin refers to the combination of vitamin-B complex and vitamin-C, which are readily absorbed, consumed by the body tissues and excreted by the kidneys through urine. Our body does not store water-soluble vitamins for future cell activities.

It is one category of vitamins that should be regularly supplemented in our diet, as vitamin B and C are readily degraded or consumed by our body. Water-soluble vitamins do not cause toxicity, but sometimes excess vitamin C may consequence diarrhoea.

Definition of Fat-Soluble Vitamins

As the term indicates, they are soluble in lipids or fatty acids. Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins-A, D, E and K, which are neither readily absorbed, consumed by the body tissues and excreted by the kidneys through urine. Fat-soluble vitamins occupy mainly the liver and adipose tissues for future cellular functions.

Our body requires fat-soluble vitamin in very minute quantities, as they degrade slowly by the body. If a person consumes fat-soluble vitamins in a high amount, it leads to toxicity or sometimes causes serious health problems.

Types of Vitamins

Based on solubility or absorbtion inside a body, there are two significant categories of vitamins, namely water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. But, depending on the various functions of water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins, vitamins are typically classified into the following forms:

Types of water and fat-soluble vitamins

Types of Water-Soluble Vitamins

There are nine water-soluble vitamins, including eight forms of vitamin-B complex and vitamin-C. They must be regularly integrated into our diet.

Vitamin-B Complex

It has eight vitamins (each possesses distinct health benefits).

  • Vitamin-B1 or Thiamine: It helps in energy metabolism by converting food into energy and also coordinates the workings of RNA and DNA. Vitamin B1 also maintains the cardiovascular and nervous system healthy.
  • Vitamin-B2 or Riboflavin: It plays an essential role in promoting healthy muscle, skin, vision etc. and also mediates a chemical transformation of tryptophan into niacin.
  • Vitamin-B3 or Niacin: It helps in providing energy metabolism to our body by converting food into energy. Besides that, vitamin B3 keeps the nervous system and cardiovascular system healthy and promotes strength to the skin, hairs, nails etc.
  • Vitamin-B5 or Pantothenic acid: It also provides energy to the body by converting food into chemical energy. Vitamin B5 aids in overall cell growth and development, supports the functioning of the adrenal gland and contributes to forming haemoglobin.
  • Vitamin-B6 or Pyridoxine: It helps in energy metabolism by converting food into cellular energy. Vitamin B6 reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and contributes by forming RBCs, insulin, serotonin, haemoglobin etc.
  • Vitamin-B7 or Biotin: It facilitates the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. Vitamin-B7 promotes a healthy nervous system, skin, hair, nails etc. and also controls the blood sugar level.
  • Vitamin-B9 or Folic acid: It plays a key role in maintaining a healthy nervous system, repairs DNA damage caused due to toxins, and aids in forming blood cells.
  • Vitamin-B12 or Cobalamin: It aids in the formation of blood cells and participates in the functioning and development of the nervous system. According to the research, vitamin-B12 also prevents megaloblastic anaemia.
Vitamin-C

It aids in synthesising collagen (a structural element of blood vessels, ligaments, tendons and bones). Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant, which prevents the cell from countering reactive oxygen species. It performs a profound role in the immune system by stimulating the production of WBCs.

Types of Fat-Soluble Vitamins

There are four fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, D, E and K. We can integrate a small number of fat-soluble vitamins into our diet.

Vitamin-A

It maintains eye, skin, and bone health, as well as shows antioxidant property by protecting cells against free radicals. Vitamin-A helps in cell repairing and also keeps healthy and glowing skin.

Vitamin-D

It facilitates the homeostasis of calcium and potassium ions in the blood and becomes necessary to strengthen bones and our immune system. Vitamin D also supports cardiovascular health.

Vitamin-E

It shows an antioxidant property, provides immunity to the body to fight off infection and helps in muscle repair.

Vitamin-K

It plays a fundamental role in blood coagulation, prevents excessive bleeding and maintains bone and heart health. Vitamin-K also shares a property of wound healing, i.e. repairs the damaged cells or tissues.

Key Differences Between Water-Soluble and Fat-Soluble Vitamins

  1. Absorption: Water-soluble vitamins of dietary origin quickly assimilate in the small intestine, whereas the microbial activity in the large intestine synthesize few vitamins and assimilate absorb there. Fat-soluble vitamins not easily assimilate in the small intestine and require bile or lipids for assimilation or absorption.
  2. Transport: Water-soluble vitamins travel into the body by entering the bloodstream via diffusion, while fat-soluble vitamins require protein carriers to transport them into the body through the blood.
  3. Consumption: Our body not promptly consumes fat-soluble vitamins. Oppositely, our body tissues directly consume water-soluble vitamins.
  4. Storage: “Lipocytes” store the fat-soluble vitamins for future activities. Conversely, our body readily consumes water-soluble vitamin, so it does not linger inside the body.
  5. Excretion: Our excretory system (Kidneys) quickly excretes the water-soluble vitamins, whereas fat-soluble vitamins remain in a body for a more extended period or slowly excrete out by the kidneys.

Similarities

  1. A body requires both the kinds of vitamins in our diet as trace elements.
  2. Our body requires both water and fat-soluble vitamins to acquire good health and metabolism.
  3. Both water and fat-soluble vitamins must be replenished in our diet to avoid vitamins deficiencies.
  4. Our body needs all the vitamins through the different plant and animal sources to fulfil the necessity of a balanced diet.

Conclusion

Finally, we can conclude that water and fat-soluble vitamins perform distinct takes in our body. Still, both are necessary for the functioning, growth, maintenance of the body tissues and conduct various metabolic reactions inside a body.

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