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More on Water Soluble Vitamins

May 13, 2019

Water soluble vitamins: Biotin & Pantothenic Acid

– Less well known substances that play important roles in energy metabolism
– Pantothenic Acid is destroyed by processing e.g. freezing, canning, refining
– Egg whites (raw) can bind Biotin blockign absorption BUT large and sustained amounts would be needed for any deficiency to occur.


Water Soluble Vitamins: Vitamin B12

– B12 is destroyed in microwave cooking. Use a stovetop method to cook foods to retain B12, but remember as a water soluble vitamin some will be lost in water if boiled etc.
– For most people Vitamin B12 deficiency is rare. It is reabsorbed by the body so it can take up to 3 years to become deficient if intake suddenly stops.
– B12 relies on a molecule from the stomach called ‘Intrinsic factor’ in order to be identified by the body and reabsorbed. Lack of intrinsic factor can lead to deficiency symptoms. 
– B12 also depends on folate to be activated (and vice versa) so deficiency of one relates to the other.
– As B12 is mainly present in animal derived foods this is one area of risk for particularly vegans as lacto-ovo vegetarians will gain some from dairy/ eggs. Consuming fortified foods or a B12 containing nutritional yeast are the best sources for vegans. B12 in spirulina or miso is not in an active / available form and cannot be used by the body.


Water soluble ‘B’ Vitamins: Folate

– Folate activation and absorption relies on vitamin B12
– Folate is particularly important for pregnant women to lower the risk of neural tube defects in the developing baby. Becasue the neural tube of the fetus is formed early in pregnancy, women are encouraged to take folate supplments before getting pregnant and for the first few months of pregnancy.
– Folate is easily lost from the body as well as lost to heat, water and oxygen in cooking – this contributes to it being one of the most common deficiencies.
– Beacuse deficiency is common Australia took the step of mandatory fortification of bread-making flour in 2009. Folic Acid is added to all commercial bread products (sandwich loaves, sweet bakery items etc). 100g bread would provide 120ug of the 400ug RDI. 
– Folic Acid is the name of the synthetic form of folate; it is more readily absorbed by the body than naturally occurring folate.
– Deficiency of folate results in a form of anaemia where red blood cells are enlarged and do not function to carry oxygen properly.
– Too much folic acid can mask the symptoms of B12 deficiency.


Susan Bown.