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Absorption of Water-Soluble Vitamins

  • D. M. Matthews
Part of the Biomembranes book series (B, volume 4B)

Abstract

An account of the absorption of water-soluble vitamins must deal with the intestinal transport of a group of structurally unrelated compounds with widely different properties. The characteristics of absorption of several members of the group have not yet been adequately investigated. It is therefore difficult to make many valid generalizations. Some authors have expressed the opinion that B vitamins other than vitamin B1 2 and folic acid are absorbed by diffusion [1, 2]. According to current views on intestinal absorption, however, it seems unlikely that molecules as large as those of most water-soluble vitamins could be absorbed on any substantial scale by simple diffusion through aqueous pores. In addition, the molecules of some members of the group are fairly strongly basic or acidic. Consequently, it would be expected that a carrier mechanism would be involved in absorption in most instances, and ideological considerations might suggest that transport would be active. Only a few. years ago, there was insufficient evidence to indicate the mode of absorption of most water-soluble vitamins [3], but observations suggesting the existence of a special absorptive mechanism are now available for six of nine water-soluble vitamins, and in four cases, it is reasonably certain that intestinal transport is active in at least one mammalian species. Thus the thesis that most of these vitamins are absorbed by ‘diffusion’ is no longer tenable. Some of the main characteristics of absorption of the water-soluble vitamins are summarized in Table 17.1.

Keywords

Intrinsic Factor Portal Blood Pantothenic Acid Pernicious Anaemia Intestinal Transport 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. M. Matthews
    • 1
  1. 1.Westminster HospitalLondonUK

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