Is Vitamin Water Good For You?

From the name itself, vitamin water is plain water fortified with vitamins.  To determine whether it confers the benefits of vitamins delivered through water, we need to examine what vitamin water is made of.

Vitamin water is typically composed of the following (excluding colors and flavors):  vapor distilled water, crystalline fructose, citric acid, caffeine, ascorbic acid, electrolytes, zinc picolinate, vitamin E acetate, vitamin A palmitate, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta carotene, cyanocobalamin , pyridoxine hydrochloride.

We already know that vitamins are either fat-soluble, or water-soluble.  Fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K, while water-soluble vitamins are B and C.  This suggests that there can only be two kinds of vitamins that one can get by drinking vitamin water:  B and C.

Vitamin C is the more popular name for ascorbic acid. It is abundant in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes; in berries, like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries; and in dark green vegetables like kale, turnip and dandelion greens.  Ascorbic acid is what makes our immune system strong and our skin glow.  It is also popular as an anti-oxidant and boosts collagen production.  Vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy, a condition where gums swell and skin becomes pale.  Depression is also a common symptom of insufficient ascorbic acid.

Vitamin B is more complex (hence the name, B-complex).  It is further classified as B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxal), and B12 (cobalamin).

The typical vitamin water contains B3, B5, B6 and B12.

In nature, niacin is found in brewer’s yeast, fish, liver, beef, poultry, beans and peanuts.  This vitamin is responsible for metabolizing carbohydrates and fats.  It also aids in lowering cholesterol in the blood that usually results to heart attack or stroke.  Niacin deficiency leads to pellagra, a condition that manifests in skin eruptions, digestive troubles, nervous disturbances and loss of focus.  The U.S. recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 13 to 20 milligrams.

Vitamin B5 is important for the proper functioning of the adrenal glands, for building cells, and for ensuring normal growth and development of the central nervous system.  Deficiency in pantothenic acid leads to headache, fatigue, muscle cramps, and nausea.  The recommended dietary allowance is 7 to 9 milligrams, and the vitamin can be found in eggs, corn, liver, dried brewer’s yeast, whole grain, and nuts.

Vitamin B6 metabolizes fats, carbohydrates and proteins, promotes nervous system health, and helps maintain muscle tone and cardiovascular health.  Deficiency leads to skin disorders, dandruff and oily scaling of the scalp and nearby areas, anemia, and muscle cramps.  The recommended amount is up to 2 milligrams.  Green vegetables, liver, dried brewer’s yeast, whole grain breads and cereals, fish, nuts, potatoes and avocados are chock-full of pyridoxine.

Cobalamin is more popularly known as vitamin B12.  It is crucial in the production of red blood cells and important in nervous system health.  We only need 3 micrograms of it; otherwise, anemia and spinal cord degeneration may develop.  Liver, kidney, meat, fish, milk and eggs are rich in B112.

It is important to keep in mind that vitamin water has a substantial amount of sugars, in the form of crystalline fructose.  In the same vein, the nutrients found in vitamin water are synthetic.  They work similar to supplements, except that they are far diluted than concentrated amounts one can find in pills and capsules that contain the same thing.  This makes the vitamin water’s vitamin content lower than actual RDA.

When compared to plain water, vitamin water is packed with trace amounts of vitamins that are indispensable to our well-being.  However, nothing still beats consuming the real things – real sources of vitamins that not only meet minimum RDA, but also lend variety to our diet.