Vitamins play a vital role in many biochemical functions in the human body and are essential components for maintaining optimal health. There are two main groups of vitamins – those that are fat-soluble (easily stored in fat upon absorption) and those that are water-soluble (washed out and not easily stored). Although adequate intake of all vitamins is important, due to the transient nature of water-soluble vitamins, regular intake is required to avoid deficiency. The water-soluble vitamins include Vitamin C and Vitamin B complex (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folate, and cobalamin).
Vitamin B complex and vitamin C are found in many foods, especially vegetables and fruits, as well as dairy, meat, legumes, peas, liver, eggs, and fortified grains and cereals. In addition to serving as cofactors in biochemical reactions, vitamin B complex is vital for normal body growth and development, healthy skin, properly functioning of nerves and the heart, and red blood cell formation. The overall lack of water-soluble vitamins is rare in North America, though it can present in alcohol use disorder, malabsorption syndromes, strict veganism, and malnourished states.