Guide To Common Water-Soluble Vitamin Supplements

May 31, 2023

In general, water-soluble vitamins are not stored by the body, meaning that individuals will expel them through urine. Thus, individuals need to consume them regularly to ensure that they maintain adequate levels of each one. Not consuming enough of a vitamin may result in a deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin deficiencies have many symptoms, including thinning hair, brittle nails, fatigue, and depression. Blood tests can be done to detect deficiencies.

Many individuals will take vitamin supplements to treat or prevent a deficiency. This includes water-soluble vitamin supplements. Vitamin C tablets are quite common, as are vitamin B supplements. However, individuals should understand the most common water-soluble vitamins first, including their benefits and precautions.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, which can be referred to as ascorbic acid, is used to help the body repair and regrow tissues. It helps with iron absorption and is also important in forming and maintaining blood vessels, bones, skin, and other connective tissues. This vitamin also decreases total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. Studies suggest that vitamin C may boost the immune system. It could also help reduce blood pressure. Additionally, research indicates that this supplement may lower the risk of heart disease and gout attacks.

Adult males are advised to consume ninety milligrams of vitamin C each day, and adult females need seventy-five milligrams per day. Pregnant women should consume eighty-five milligrams daily. Patients who take blood thinners should check with their doctor before taking a vitamin C supplement, as it may decrease the effectiveness of these medicines. Certain medications, such as acetylsalicylic acid and barbiturates, may reduce vitamin C in the body. Thus, individuals who use these medicines may be advised to consume more vitamin C each day.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps the body make DNA and red blood cells. In addition, neurons in the brain require this vitamin to function properly. Vitamin B12 is involved in serotonin production. Thus, low levels of the vitamin may increase the risk for clinical depression. In a study of older females, researchers found that those with vitamin B12 deficiencies were twice as likely to develop depression as those without deficiencies. Another study concluded that individuals with high vitamin B12 levels were more likely to recover from major depressive disorder than those with lower levels. Vitamin B12 may also help prevent macular degeneration.

Those who are pregnant must have adequate vitamin B12 levels. This is particularly vital because having adequate vitamin B12 reduces the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth, and neural tube congenital disabilities. In terms of brain health, vitamin B12 may help improve memory and slow the cognitive decline associated with aging and dementia. Healthy adults are advised to consume 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12 each day. Vitamin B12 supplements have quite a few potential medication interactions. For instance, they may interact with metformin, proton pump inhibitors, and histamine H2 receptor antagonists. Thus, individuals should review their medications with a doctor or pharmacist before taking vitamin B12 supplements.

Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. It keeps the skin, hair, eyes, and digestive tract healthy. This vitamin also helps the liver and nervous system function properly and makes hormones in the adrenal glands. Vitamin B5 supplements may help with wound healing and the treatment of high cholesterol. Adults are advised to consume five milligrams of vitamin B5 daily.

While deficiencies in this vitamin are uncommon in the United States, malnourished individuals may be at risk of developing a deficiency. Symptoms of a deficiency include headaches, fatigue, irritability, and gastrointestinal discomfort. Although there are no known medication interactions with pantothenic acid, patients may need to be cautious when taking pantothenic acid and biotin. High doses of vitamin B5 could block the absorption of biotin. In addition, they may cause diarrhea.


Riboflavin, also called vitamin B2, is important in the development of blood cells, skin, and the lining of the digestive tract. It supports healthy brain function as well. Studies indicate that this vitamin may help with the prevention of cataracts. It also aids in the reduction of homocysteine levels. Riboflavin supplements may reduce the pain associated with migraine attacks and lessen the frequency of migraine attacks.

Men are advised to take 1.3 milligrams of riboflavin per day, and women should consume 1.1 milligrams daily. Patients who have gallbladder disease or liver disease, including liver cirrhosis, should ask their doctor before taking riboflavin supplements. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take riboflavin without consulting a doctor. Taking too much of this supplement may trigger diarrhea and an increase in urination. High doses of riboflavin may cause the urine to become slightly orange in color as well.


Biotin, also called vitamin B7, is a component of the enzymes that break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in the body. Individuals with low biotin may notice thinning hair, fatigue, tingling in the arms and legs, and a scaly rash around the nose, eyes, or mouth. Patients may experience depression or hallucinations as well. Biotin deficiencies have been linked to rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and long-term feeding tube use.

The recommended dietary allowance for biotin has not been established. However, most experts suggest that a dose of thirty micrograms per day is an adequate intake for healthy adults. Individuals who smoke should ask their doctor before using biotin supplements. Patients who have recently had stomach surgery should check with their medical team before using this supplement as well. Biotin supplements may not be safe for kidney disease patients too.

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