Advertisement

How are water-soluble vitamins absorbed by the body?

Janet  Brill, PhD, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Water-soluble vitamins are found in  many foods we eat, such as cereal grains, meat, poultry, eggs, fish, milk, legumes, citrus fruits and fresh vegetables. The B vitamins and vitamin C are absorbed along with water in the small intestine and then circulate through the blood. Some water-soluble vitamins (like B12 and folic acid) can be stored in your body, but to be on the safe side it is recommended that you replenish your stores of water-soluble vitamins every few days, as they are easily eliminated through urine. 
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.

Continue Learning about Vitamins

The One Type Of Vitamin Many Women Need
The One Type Of Vitamin Many Women Need
For many people, eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. But even a very healthy diet might ...
Read More
Can B vitamins help prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia?
Dariush Mozaffarian, MDDariush Mozaffarian, MD
Several epidemiological studies have shown that blood concentrations of vitamins B6, B12, and folic ...
More Answers
How can vitamins help prevent a cold?
Stacy Wiegman, PharmDStacy Wiegman, PharmD
There is no reliable evidence that taking vitamins prevents the common cold or flu. Some people ...
More Answers
Which Vitamins and Minerals Can Help Me Sleep Better?
Which Vitamins and Minerals Can Help Me Sleep Better?

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.