Another installment of Vitamania! Today we’re talking about the two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. First off, the term soluble means “dissolves in”. For example, sugar is water-soluble. You dump sugar into water, it dissolves (add a flavor packet and you have Kool Aid!). Dumping sugar into vegetable oil (a fat) does nothing but make the sugar float in the oil (add a flavor packet and you have….the grossest thing ever).
Everything you put in your body is either water-soluble or fat-soluble. And, our bodies are made up, in simple terms, of water and fat. This is good since, as you know from italian dressing, oil and water don’t mix. If they did, our bodies would have a consistency closer to ranch dressing. No structure, everything mixed together. And not go nearly as well with chicken wings.
So, our vitamins are divided into two teams, let’s look at the starting lineups and what each has to offer:
Starters: The B vitamins and Vitamin C
Water-soluble vitamins are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract (a water based environment). Our blood is also water based, so these vitamins spend their time in the body just floating around, being used where needed.
The kidneys easily get rid of water-soluble vitamins through our urine (which makes your urine funny colors). Because of this there is little theoretical chance of overdose on water-soluble vitamins.
Starters: Vitamins A, D, E, & K
Fat-soluble vitamins, just like the fat in our diet, need the help of bile acids to be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. They can’t dissolve in the bloodstream, so carrier proteins move them to fatty parts of the body for use and storage.
Since the kidney’s can’t easily dispose of fat-soluble vitamins there is a theoretical risk of overdose. However, for overdose to occur, massive amounts of these vitamins would need be taken over a sustained period of time.
Because our bodies are either fat or water based, it is a fantastic thing we have two different types of vitamins. They help compliment each other. Just like italian salad dressing, the combination is pleasing.
For example, in the human body our cell walls are fat based, while the insides of cells are water based. This is especially important for vitamin antioxidant funciton. Vitamin C (water-soluble) protects our cells on the inside, while Vitamin E protects the cell wall, keeping the cell intact.
There you have it. Two different types of vitamins, working together to keep us healthy. It’s a beautiful thing.