Vitamin News Updates Post 1

The B vitamins and vitamin C are known as water soluble vitamins – meaning that they are found in the watery parts of food, and are stored in the watery areas of your body.

Unlike the fat-soluble vitamins discussed  and  of this Vitamin News Update series, your body absorbs as much of these water soluble vitamins as needed, and excretes the rest in urine.

Because there is little storage capacity for water soluble vitamins, it is recommended that we eat foods containing these vitamins on a daily or regular basis.

Apart from the way these vitamins are absorbed and excreted, what else do they have in common? They also act as coenzymes – which means that they help enzymes do their metabolic work in the body. Without these coenzymes, important functions, such as the metabolism of protein and amino acids, cannot take place.

A family that sticks together
The B vitamins collectively form the vitamin B complex. Many work in conjunction with one another. Listed below are selected B vitamins which have received the most research attention within the past year: Folate Pregnancy and childbearing – For some time, the benefits of folate have been primarily associated with women and childbearing. Physicians have strongly recommended that women who are considering pregnancy take extra folate prior to pregnancy to protect against birth defects; new mothers are also advised to take folate in larger doses.

But despite these recommendations, health officials at the Centers for Disease Control reported recently that most women of childbearing age still do not consume enough folic acid each day.

However, just eating folate-rich foods may not be sufficient for the nutritional needs of pregnant women. A study published in the Lancet earlier this year found that women in Ireland who increased their dietary intake of folate did not show substantial folate increases in their blood concentrations.

These findings, as well as others, have caused researchers to recommend that folate supplements, or vitamins with an adequate amount of folate, be taken by women considering pregnancy. The recommended dosage is 400 micrograms daily to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida (exposed spinal cord) or anencephaly (absence of brain and spinal cord.)