Signs of Deficiency of Water Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C


Vitamins are essential micronutrients required for the normal functioning of your organs and systems. There are two groups of vitamins: water-soluble vitamins and Fat-soluble vitamins.  

Water Soluble Vitamins: are Micro-nutrients that get excreted out of the body with urine. Therefore, they are not stored in the body and need to be taken daily to balance it out. The single water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body for years is vitamin B12.

What are the water-soluble vitamins? Water-soluble vitamins are vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C.

Since water-soluble vitamins are not usually stored in the body, hypervitaminosis is a rare occurrence. When it does happen, it is as a result of exceeding your normal daily dose of a recommended supplement.

Why are water-soluble vitamins important? All B vitamins help in the conversion of protein, fat, and carbohydrates into energy why C vitamin is useful for the immune system to help prevent certain diseases.

At Mayor Boss, we have arranged a list for you to help you understand the signs and symptoms of water-soluble vitamins and how to get the vitamins through foods. All right, let’s dive right in.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): is an essential vitamin in converting carbohydrates to energy for cell utilization. The brain and the nervous system specifically use energy gotten from carbohydrates, so vitamin B1 is vital in the proper workings of these organs. Vitamin B1 is also an essential factor in the mechanism of muscle contraction and the conduction of nerve signals.

The daily recommendation of vit B1: thiamine taken by mouth is 1.2mg for males and 1.1mg for females over the age of 18years. Pregnant women of any age should consume 1.4 mg per day. Food rich in Vit B1 is beef, liver, nuts, dried milk, seeds, legumes, oats, oranges, yeast.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B1 deficiency:

  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Confusion
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Loss or reduce reflexes of the ankle and knees
  • Tingling sensation in the legs and arms
  • Generalized Muscle weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurry vision or temporary loss of sight
  • Easily irritable
  • Bradycardia (reduced heart rate)
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)

A severe deficiency of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) causes a disease called beriberi.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2(Riboflavin): is a micronutrient that partakes in the breakdown of carbohydrates, protein, and fats in foods to maintain the body’s energy store. It helps create new blood cells, maintain the health of skin cells and other tissues.

The daily recommendation of Riboflavin: 1.3mg for men and 1.1mg for women age 19 and above, while for pregnant women:1.4mg per day and for breastfeeding mothers 1.6mg per day. Foods rich in riboflavin are eggs, lean meats, green leafy vegetables, liver, kidneys, mushrooms, almonds, fortified grains, and cereals.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B2 Deficiency:

  • Angular stomatitis(Angular cheilitis): inflammation and painful sores, one or both corners of the mouth, dry lips.
  • Hair loss
  • Sore throat and Swollen throat
  • Anemia
  • Cataracts
  • Red itchy eyes, blurred vision, watering, and sore eyes
  • Skin problems such as cracked skin mostly located at the edge of the mouth and dermatitis.
  • Generalized body weakness

Deficiency of Riboflavin in pregnancy is a risk factor for congenital disabilities such as congenital heart defects and limb deformities.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): is an essential micronutrient that is needed by every system of the body to carry out their function correctly. The deficiency or the overdose of it causes some serious health problems. It is found in foods such as milk, fish, yeast, green leafy vegetables, meat, eggs.

Signs and Symptoms of Deficiency of Niacin:

  • Sensitive to sunlight (Exposure to sunlight cause the formation of thick, scaly pigmented rash)
  • Severe dry and itchy skin, dermatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Acute depressive state (mood swings)
  • Apathy to life
  • Insomnia
  • Disorientation
  • Headache
  • Loss of memory (forgetfulness)
  • Bright red tongue and swelling of the mouth, sores in the mouth

A severe deficiency of niacin is called pellagra. Pellagra is a severe disorder that, if not treated, can become fatal.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) belongs to the group of micronutrients necessary for hematopoiesis (formation of new blood cells). The daily recommendation of Vit B5:

  • Infant 0-6months: 1.7mg
  • Infants 7-12months: 1.8mg
  • Children 1-3 years: 2mg
  • Children 4-8years: 3mg
  • Children 9-13years: 4mg
  • Men and women 14years and above:5mg
  • Pregnant women: 6mg
  • Breastfeeding mothers: 7mg

Foods rich in Vit b5: Mushrooms, fish, avocados, eggs, lean chicken, sunflower seeds, lentils, sweet potatoes, milk, beef, pork.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B5 Deficiency:

Pantothenic acid is perfect for soft, smooth skin, to reduce the spread of acne and increase hair growth.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is useful in the formation of new blood cells and neurotransmitters. Food sources of Vit B6 are pork, chicken, turkey, fish, bread, whole grain (oatmeal, brown rice), eggs, soya beans, vegetables. The daily recommended intake is:

  • Infant 0-6months: 0.1mg
  • Infants 7-12months: 0.3mg
  • Children 1-3 years: 0.5mg
  • Children 4-8years: 0.6mg
  • Children 9-13years: 1mg
  • Male14-50years: 1.3mg
  • Male over 50: 1.7mg
  • Females 14 -18: 1.2mg
  • Females 19-50years: 1.3mg
  • Females over 50: 1.5mg
  • Pregnant women: 1.9mg
  • Breastfeeding mothers: 2mg

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B6 Deficiency:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Memory loss (forgetfulness)
  • Anemia
  • Increase the risk of heart disease
  • Eye disturbance
  • Joint pain
  • Sore glossy tongue (glossitis)
  • Peripheral nephropathy
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Confusion
  • Tingling in feet and hands.
  • Weakened immune system leading to recurrent infections

Pyridoxine has been proven to alleviate monthly premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and morning sickness(Nausea and vomiting) in pregnant women.

Vitamin B7

Vitamin B7 (Biotin or Vitamin H): is a B vitamin involved in a lot of metabolic processes. It is vital for hair, nails, skins, and the normal development of a fetus.

Foods high in biotin are beef, liver, chicken, liver salmon, and eggs. Foods with small amounts of biotin are sweet potatoes, spinach, nuts, and seeds. The daily recommended intake of biotin is 300micrograms.

Signs and Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency:

  • Scaly red rash around your mouth, nose, eyes, and the genital area
  • Hair loss
  • Lethargy
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Numbness Of extremities
  • Tingling on hands and feet.
  • Ataxia (impaired coordination, frequent stumbling))
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of appetite
  • Brittle nail (weak and easily chipped)

Biotin is a wonder vitamin that does a lot of good, from strengthening hair and nail to reducing blood sugar in diabetic patients.

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 (Folate or Folic acid): Foods rich in vitamin B9 are beans, citrus fruits, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. Daily recommended intake of folate is 400micrograms(mcg) in adults. Women who are planning to get pregnant are advised to take 400-800mcg per day.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B9 Deficiency:

Folic acid is extremely useful in pregnancy. It prevents congenital disabilities such as neural tube defects (The most common one is spina bifida). Taking 400mcg of folic acid daily can prevent neural tube defects.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): Vit B12 helps in the production of DNA (which is the genetic material in all cells), it is vital in the health of blood cells and nerves. It is found in meat, fish(shellfish, salmon, tuna), eggs, and dairy products. The daily recommended intake is 2.4mcg for adults.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid and ascorbate): Is an essential vitamin for healthy immune function, repair of tissues, and enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters. It is an antioxidant, so it prevents cancer formation, hypertension, heart disease, and gout attacks. It is found in citrus fruits, broccoli, green and red bell peppers, leafy greens, tomatoes. Daily intake of vitamin C is 65-90mg per day, and the upper limit(maximum) is 2000mg a day.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin C Deficiency:

  • Increase the risk of infections
  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Generalized weakness
  • Skin rashes( rough, bumpy skin)
  • Dry, damaged skin
  • Prolonged wound healing
  • Swollen, painful joints
  • Spoon shaped fingernails with vertical lines(nails are thinned out and brittle).
  • Osteoporosis and fractures
  • Corkscrew shaped body hair (a sign of scurvy)

Vitamin C Deficiency is preventable by consuming the daily recommended amount from foods or by taking Vit C supplements to make up for the daily requirements.