Which vitamins are fat-soluble and water-soluble?

You’ve probably heard the terms “fat-soluble” and “water-soluble” in reference to vitamins before. But what do these terms really mean? Why are the distinctions important and which vitamins belong to which categories?


What Does “Soluble” Mean?

The word “soluble” actually means “able to be dissolved.” Whether a vitamin is classified as ‘fat-soluble’ or ‘water-soluble’ has to do with how the vitamin is absorbed, stored and removed from the body.

water-soluble vitamins

All B vitamins and vitamin C are water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are easily dissolved in the body. The kidneys remove excess amounts of these vitamins so they can be excreted in the urine. Still, this doesn’t mean that you can take vitamins B and C in unlimited quantities.

There is a misconception that if you consume too much of a water-soluble vitamin, your body will just ‘get rid of it.’ The truth is, there can be problems with excessive amounts of water-soluble vitamins, and upper limits have been set on their consumption.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed in the lymph, transported in the blood, and can be stored in the liver and fatty tissues for use as needed.

The fat-soluble vitamins are the ones you really need to be careful about. Because fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body, these vitamins can build up to toxic levels when consumed in excessive amounts.

Learn more about the negative effects of taking too much of a vitamin >

Because mega-dosing can be harmful to the body, it’s important to choose a well-balanced multivitamin like Geritol®. Well-balanced multivitamins can be safer to your health and better tolerated. Geritol® contains exactly or close to 100% RDA of:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B6 & B12
  • Niacin
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Manganese

Geritol® multivitamin is specially formulated with just the right vitamins in just the right amounts so you can feel your best without worrying about getting too much or too little of a vitamin.


What are the characteristics of fat- and water-soluble vitamins? 2005-2013 WebMD. Retrieved from: http://answers.webmd.com/answers/648730/what-are-the-characteristics-of-fat January 22, 2013.

Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, Know the Difference Between Fat- and Water-Soluble Nutrients. 2005-2013. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrition-vitamins-11/fat-water-nutrient January 22, 2013.