How are water-soluble vitamins absorbed by the body?

Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
Water-soluble vitamins are packed into the watery portions of the foods you eat. They are absorbed directly into the bloodstream as food is broken down during digestion or as a supplement dissolves. Because much of your body consists of water, many of the water-soluble vitamins circulate easily in your body. (One exception is vitamin B6, which is mostly stored in muscle tissue.) Your kidneys continuously regulate levels of water-soluble vitamins, shunting excesses out of the body in your urine.

Contrary to popular belief, some water-soluble vitamins can stay in the body for long periods of time. You probably have several years' supply of vitamin B12 in your liver. And even folic acid and vitamin C stores can last more than a couple of days. Generally, though, water-soluble vitamins should be replenished every few days.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.