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Water Soluble Vitamins


Water soluble vitamins are those vitamins which dissolve in water and are generally not stored in your body. The water soluble vitamins are vitamin C, and the B group vitamins which are thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, folate and vitamin B12.



Each of these vitamins plays an important role in the body. The B group vitamins primarily work together to help your body to produce and use energy from food while vitamin C is needed for a healthy immune system and the growth and repair of tissues in your body.



As these vitamins are not generally stored in your body, it is important to include plenty of foods which contain these vitamins in your daily diet. The best way to achieve this is by eating a variety of foods from across all five food groups, such as wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, milk or milk substitutes, meat, fish and poultry, and nuts, seeds and legumes.


Something to remember is that water soluble vitamins are easily lost to water and some can also be destroyed by heat, light and exposure to oxygen. Folate, thiamine and vitamin C tend to be the most easily lost during food processing. To help retain as much of the nutrient content in foods which are rich in water soluble vitamins, it is generally best to use minimal water when cooking and use alternative cooking methods such as microwaving, steaming, roasting, stir-frying or grilling.



The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have set recommended amounts for each of these vitamins. It is best to consume these vitamins within the amounts recommended. Although your body will usually excrete them in urine which usually prevents these vitamins from building up to harmful levels in the body, consuming excessive amounts of certain water soluble vitamins can still cause problems. For example, too much vitamin B6 can cause nerve problems, too much niacin can cause flushes, and too much vitamin C can cause stomach upset. Excessive amounts of folate can also hide a vitamin B12 deficiency.



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.



Better Health Victoria


Dietitians of Canada