My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Question

WebMD Answers

120 Characters remaining
120 Characters remaining
  • First, try and keep your question as short as possible.
  • Include specific words that will help us identify questions that may already have your answer.
  • If you don't find your answer, you can post your question to WebMD Experts and Contributors.


Posted: | Report This Report Question |

What are the characteristics of fat- and water-soluble vitamins?

Related Topics: Vitamin

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

5,093 Answers
269,991 Helpful Votes

Vitamins are one of the six essential nutrients that our bodies need to function. These essential nutrients are broken up into two groups based on the amount that is needed:

    1. Macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, fat, and water
    2. Micronutrients: vitamins and minerals

While vitamins are needed in small quantities, they perform huge functions in our bodies. They are needed for normal function, growth and maintenance of body tissues, and to regulate and support chemical reactions in the body. In order to be classified as a vitamin, absence of the nutrient from the diet must result in a disease that can be cured by the timely replacement of that nutrient. For this reason, the absence of any vitamin from your diet would result in a deficiency that would only be corrected by ingesting that vitamin.

Vitamins fall into two categories: fat soluble and water soluble. The type of solubility has to do with how the vitamins are absorbed and transported, whether or not they can be stored in the body, and how easily they are lost from the body. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. Being fat soluble means that they are absorbed in the lymph, are transported in the blood with carrier proteins, and they can be stored in the liver and fatty tissues. The fact that these vitamins can be stored means that they can also build up to toxic levels when consumed in excessive amounts. It is very important to stick to the guidelines on how much is necessary and how much is dangerous.

The water-soluble vitamins are B and C. The B vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pyridoxine, and B12. The water-soluble vitamins are easily dissolved and can be excreted in the urine. This does not mean that you can take these in unlimited quantities. There can be problems with excessive amounts, so upper limits have also been set for the water-soluble vitamins..

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

| Report This Report Answer
Archived: March 20, 2014

Was this helpful?


Thanks for your feedback.

89 of 144 found this helpful
Read the Original Article: Vitamins: Fat and Water Soluble Vitamins