Fat-Soluble And Water-Soluble Vitamins: What It All Means

Vitamins can take two forms; fat-soluble or water-soluble. Solubility refers to how vitamins are absorbed, dissolved, metabolized, and transported. As the name suggests, fat-soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water and need fat in order to be digested and utilized. Just as water-soluble vitamins need water to be dissolved and metabolized for various biological functions throughout the body. 

What Vitamins Are Fat-Soluble?

Fat-soluble vitamins are best absorbed and provide more bioavailability when taken with foods higher in fat.  That means, when these specific vitamins are not taken with enough fat, they pass through the GI tract, without much effect or absorption. Thus it’s crucial that when taking fat-soluble vitamins, you ingest them with foods higher in fat.

Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all classified as fat-soluble vitamins. Once these vitamins are ingested, they couple with lipid or fat-based structures, such as our cell membranes [R].

Vitamin A

Vitamin A contains carotenoids and provitamins, meaning they are converted to vitamins in the body. Carotenoids are the chemicals that give carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, and beets their distinct bright yellow, orange, and red color. Vitamin A is involved in many biological functions such as immune function, wound healing, red blood cell development, and synthesizing proteins [R].

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is synthesized through the skin and absorbed from the sun. But if you live in a cloudy climate such as the Pacific Northwest like me, then you get most your Vitamin D through supplements. Vitamin D is really classified as a group of prohormones, and can benefit a positive mood state, bone health, and promote a healthy heart. Studies have shown that Vitamin D may also have an effect on regulating stress and anxiety. But you’ll need some fat to absorb it as well, which will also help you absorb calcium. Ever heard the saying, that milk does the body good? Now you know why.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is comprised of 8 antioxidants, and can help prevent oxidative stress, or free-radical damage

Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between the production and accumulation of oxygen reactive species (ROS) also known as free radicals in cells and tissues and the ability to detoxify these reactive products with antioxidants. Free radicals have a role in several physiological functions such as cellular signaling and is generated as a byproduct of oxidation when your body metabolizes the oxygen you breath. This process creates oxidative stress – a harmful process that can cause cellular damage and contribute to several different disease states.  

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a family of two fat-soluble vitamins, K1 and K2. Vitamin K helps the body form natural blood clots to help with the body’s natural healing process. Vitamin K also assists in bone health, amino-acid metabolism, regulating calcium, and reducing the risk of heart disease [R].

What Vitamins Are Water-Soluble?

Water-soluble vitamins are best absorbed when taken with water. These vitamins are both actively and passively absorbed through the GI tract, via carrier proteins and active transport. Since we are continuously cycling through water, these vitamins are not stored in large quantities, like fat-soluble vitamins.

B Vitamins

B-Vitamins are water soluble, and contain 8 different vitamins, which help with cellular metabolism, energy and brain function. 

Studies have shown that B-Vitamin supplementation plays a critical role in the breakdown of glucose for energy and acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism of branch-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) [R]  The conversion of energy from the carbohydrates and fats that we consume is called adenosine triphosphate or ATP; this process fuels almost every cell action in our bodies. B-Vitamins support muscle cells to become more efficient and effective at producing and using energy

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, found in food. Vitamin C assists with the biosynthesis of Collagen and L-Carnitine. 

Fat-Soluble & Water-Soluble Vitamins: Takeaway

Despite the solubility of a vitamin, micronutrients are involved in nearly every biological process throughout your body. Vitamins work synergistically to keep you vibrant and healthful. Without the recommended amounts of vitamins obtained from food, supplements, and outside sources like the sun, your immune system can become comprised and weakened. Include micronutrient-rich foods, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins, quality complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Looking For The Best Vitamins To Help You Improve Your Health And Wellness? 

While we believe in a food first approach, it’s impossible to get all the nutrients we need, in the adequate amounts that we need them in, on a day to day basis from food alone. The Wellness Stack was created for your active body; the one that demands nutrients on a consistent basis to fuel your lifestyle and performance expectations. It’s a robust collection of high-quality nutrients, everyday vitamins, and minerals, each designed to benefit the body’s overall well-being and optimal functioning. Wellness is not a one-pill-fix, it’s a myriad of clinically-studied ingredients combined in a simple, once-daily supplement stack.


SWOLVERINE is an endurance athlete and active lifestyle brand. Made for the elite athlete, and the strong-willed our products were designed to fuel your athletic performance. We perform when you perform. 

We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle. 


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