The Role of Water Soluble Vitamins
Water-soluble vitamins are absorbed into the blood and cannot be retained within the body for prolonged periods of time. Whenever the levels within the blood become high these vitamins can be released into the urine. The water-soluble vitamins consist of the B vitamins and vitamin C.
Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen for the development of cartilage, bone and the scar tissue that aids in wound healing. The vitamin C complex includes bioflavonoids, rutin (vitamin P) and other components not yet discovered. Vitamin C is necessary for the activity of white blood cells thereby making it vital for proper immune function. The vitamin C complex operates with vitamin E in carrying oxygen to the blood. It is also necessary for carnitine synthesis. Carnitine has been found to be helpful in heart ailments. Vitamin C also aids in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Fruits or vegetables left unrefrigerated for days will lose the majority of the vitamin C initially present.
If vitamin C intake falls below 10 mg. per day a condition known as scurvy may develop. Signs of scurvy include bleeding gums, loose teeth, decaying teeth, easy bruising, skin discolorations, joint pain, and impaired wound healing. Deficiency is more readily observed in people with poor diets, alcoholics, drug abusers, institutionalized elderly, and also diabetics and some cancer patients.
Foods rich in vitamin C include papaya, oranges, cantaloupe, pineapple, parsley, beet greens, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, turnip greens, collard greens, brussels sprouts, green peppers, grapefruit, kale, raw cabbage, lemons, limes and strawberries.
So far 25 members of the B complex group have been identified. I will discuss the most studied in this section. They always occur together in nature whether they are found in plant or animal tissues. Some foods may have a greater concentration of a particular member of the B complex family, but all will be present in some amount. This group is essential for many actions such as: healthy nervous and immune system, digestive enzyme and insulin secretions, red blood cell production, healthy eyes, and the function of several organs and all glands of the body. The B vitamins are also important for the break down of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. The vitamin B complex assists the heart in maintaining its normal rhythm. B complex is better taken as a whole so as not create an imbalance in other members of the group. B complex taken in its natural state will contain necessary enzymes as well as all of the other factors that we presently have no knowledge of. According to nutrition researcher Dr. Royal Lee a natural vitamin B complex is between ten and fifty times more potent than the synthetic high potency complex.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
This member of the B complex is responsible for normal functioning in all body cells. It breaks down fats, carbohydrates and proteins and converts excess carbohydrates to fat for storage. Cooking and refining aids in the destruction of B1. 95 % of the vitamin B1 supplements sold are synthetic forms of the vitamin (thiamine hydrochloride or thiamine mononitrate.). Animals can convert the synthetic form into a usable form; humans cannot and thereby require the natural vitamin in its complete from.
Foods rich in vitamin B1 include yeast, fish, lean pork, legumes, collard greens, oranges, whole grain products, organ meats and nuts.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Approximately 50 enzymes in the body use riboflavin. This vitamin is required for growth and development and for the production of hormones. It is essential for the formation of red blood cells and healthy eyes, skin, and hair. Large doses of synthetic riboflavin may result in numbness, tingling, or itching and the possible formation of cataracts.
Foods rich in vitamin B2 include beef, lamb, avocados, wheat germ, oysters, salmon, dark green leafy vegetables, milk products, eggs, meat and legumes.
Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
The natural form of this vitamin also aids in the break down of fats, carbohydrates and protein. It improves function of the digestive tract and helps to form estrogen and testosterone. Vitamin B3 aids in the detoxification of several chemicals and aids in the formation of red blood cells.
Foods rich in vitamin B3 include tuna, rice bran, rabbit, oysters, prunes, kale, brown rice, wheat germ, peas, avocados, eggs, oats, rye, asparagus, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and other meats.
Almost all plant and animal cells contain substantial amounts of pantothenic acid. It is essential in the formation of coenzyme A; which is vital for many different bodily functions. It plays a role in the break down of carbohydrates, protein and especially fats.
Liver, dried beans and peas, whole grains, wheat germ, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and eggs contain pantothenic acid. Royal jelly contains large amounts of pantothenic acid.
Deficiencies of biotin are rare as it is found abundantly in many foods. Intestinal bacteria also produce biotin. Deficiency of biotin (a.k.a. vitamin H) has been associated with hair loss, depression, anemia, muscle pain, hallucinations and nausea.
Foods rich in biotin include liver, whole grains, green leafy vegetables and egg yolks.
This vitamin is reported to be the most commonly deficient vitamin in the world. Its responsibility is to maintain the genetic code of cells and transformation of chromosomes from one cell to another. During pregnancy the requirement for this vitamin doubles. Large doses of the synthetic vitamin can hide the symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency.
Foods rich in folic acid include green vegetables, legumes, whole wheat, bran, almonds, walnuts, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and liver. Keep in mind that cooking very easily destroys folic acid.
This member of the B complex is required for neurotransmitter production and for the formation of the protective sheath surrounding nerves. It is involved primarily in the building and the break down of proteins and amino acids. It also plays an important role in hormone and hemoglobin production. Synthetic forms (pyridoxine hydrochloride) taken in large doses may result in nervous system symptoms such as tingling in the arms, stumbling and lack of muscle coordination.
Foods rich in vitamin B6 include bananas, navy beans, walnuts, sirloin steak, salmon and light meat chicken.
This vitamin is required in small amounts for cell division and growth. It is the only member of the B complex to be stored in the body. It supports healthy nerve function. Vitamin C in doses in excess of 500mg or greater taken with or around meals can inhibit or destroy the vitamin. The only dietary sources of vitamin B12 are from animal products.
Foods rich in vitamin B12 include meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and eggs. Read here about carbohydrates.