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What are water-soluble vitamins?

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Water-soluble vitamins are not stored by the body because they dissolve in water, reports Colorado State University Extension. B-complex vitamins and vitamin C are classified as water-soluble vitamins.

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Vitamins are classified as fat soluble or water soluble, says Colorado State University Extension. Fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fatty tissue, but any excess is stored by the liver for later use. Instead of storing water-soluble vitamins, the body excretes them in the urine. As a result, humans must continually replenish their supply of water-soluble vitamins by consuming foods rich in these vitamins or taking vitamin supplements.

Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folate, cobalamin, pantothenic acid and biotin are all water-soluble vitamins. Together, they are known as the B-complex vitamins. These vitamins have a variety of functions, from helping enzymes work properly to assisting with the breakdown of foods. Vitamin C is essential for producing the tissue that holds the bones and muscles together. It also helps build healthy teeth and bones, promotes the healing of wounds, improves the function of the immune system and increases the amount of iron absorbed by the body, states Colorado State University Extension. B-complex vitamins are found in whole grains, chicken, dairy products, eggs, fish, legumes, fruits and nuts, while vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and other plant-based foods.

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