Vitamins are essential nutrients for our body. They are an important component and sometimes also a catalyst of biochemical processes and, with a few exceptions, have to be supplied through food. Vitamins can be divided into fat and water soluble.
Vitamins, fats, nutrients – they all form the basis for energy metabolism, act as catalysts for chemical processes, and should ideally always be present in our body in the right amount.
What are water-soluble vitamins?
Vitamins can be divided into two main categories: fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins have the advantage that the body stores them well in the liver and we rarely run the risk of having a deficiency in this vitamin group. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Unfortunately, water-soluble vitamins are rather fleeting companions. They are difficult to store and, if there is a surplus, are excreted directly via the kidneys. Therefore, ideally, they must be ingested daily through food. The only exception: vitamin B12 can be stored in the liver. The group of water-soluble vitamins includes the B vitamins and vitamin C. A basic supply of B vitamins and vitamin C can be achieved through a balanced diet. The vitamins are naturally contained in many foods, so integrating them into your daily diet should not be considered a problem.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
This vitamin plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism. The body needs vitamin B1 to convert carbohydrates into energy. The daily requirement is around 1.3 mg. The vitamin is found in meat, cereals, and legumes, as well as in potatoes. A vitamin B1 deficiency is noticeable through tiredness and difficulty concentrating. Irritability and depressive episodes can also be related to deficiency.
Vitamin B2 is also commonly known as riboflavin. If you eat a balanced diet, you don’t normally have to worry about a deficiency, as it occurs in sufficient quantities of natural foods. This vitamin is also part of energy metabolism and supports fat and protein breakdown. The daily requirement is around 1.4 mg.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
As a component of the B vitamins, niacin is also involved in cell metabolism. The same applies here: It is naturally present in many foods and a deficiency is only possible with a very unbalanced diet. The daily requirement of vitamin B3 is around 1.4 mg. It is particularly found in meat and fish and also in dairy products and cereals. Coffee can also be a niacin supplier.
Pyridoxine, as this vitamin is also called, is a particularly sporty vitamin. As part of the protein metabolism, athletes in particular, who are often characterized by an increased intake of protein, have a higher vitamin B6 requirement. The average daily requirement is 1.6 mg. White beans, sweet potatoes, carrots and fish, and meat are among the best food suppliers of vitamin B6.
Avocados, broccoli, peas, and sweet potatoes are ideal suppliers of pantothenic acid. Like all B vitamins, this vitamin is also important for energy metabolism. The recommended daily requirement is 6 mg.
When it comes to folic acid, pregnant women in particular prick up their ears. An undersupply of folic acid can promote malformations in the child. However, non-pregnant women should also pay a certain amount of attention to folic acid. Important for cell formation in general and blood and skin cells in particular, a deficiency can lead to anemia and inflammation of the mucous membranes. In contrast to the other representatives from the group of B vitamins, folic acid is not found in all foods and a supply is not readily guaranteed. Green foods are a perfect choice here: cabbage, beans, and spinach are good sources of folic acid. The recommended daily requirement is 300 to 500 (pregnant) µg.
Important for metabolism, cell growth, and protein formation, biotin is found in liver and egg yolk, legumes, grain products, and nuts. Cabbage, spinach, peas, and oatmeal also contain biotin. A deficiency is characterized by muscle pain, depression, and skin inflammation. The daily requirement is 30 – 60 µg.
B12 is particularly important for the absorption of folic acid. It is not naturally found in plant foods but is made by bacteria. Humans produce vitamin B12 with the help of their intestinal flora. B12 can be found in animal foods, fish, meat, and seafood, but dairy products and eggs also contain valuable vitamins. A deficiency comes in the form of anemia. The daily requirement is around 4 µg per day.