Save Citation To File
This has place a greater emphasis on the bioavailability of nutrients in foods because the total intake of nutrients is generally closely linked with total caloric intake. Nutrients ingested but not released during the digestive process for absorption are of no nutritional value. Bioavailability may be considered the relative absorption of a nutrient from the diet.
An index of bioavailability may be extended to include the relative accumulation of a nutrient into various tissues. Various nutrients and dietary components interfere with the bioavailability of vitamins.
Can Bioavailability Be Increased?
Administering a substance directly into the bloodstream (for example, via a drip) ensures that it will have the full effect.
Or gut disorders, such as inflammation, can affect how well your body can absorb many nutrients. In these cases, it is important to improve nutrient bioavailability to increase absorption and effectiveness. Supplements can offer a way to supplement micronutrient intake, but micronutrients still need to reach the bloodstream and be absorbed by the body.
Bioavailability in supplements can be affected by a whole variety of factors, including:
The formulation of the supplement – some nutrient forms are better absorbed than others
The delivery method – for example, in some cases capsules are more effective than tablets
Composition of your meal – fat-soluble nutrients (such as vitamin D, for example) are better absorbed when taken with a meal, as it will contain some fat, that will help with the absorption
Interactions with other substances in your system – for example, calcium supplements make absorption of iron more difficult, so it is important to wait two hours between taking calcium and iron
Gastrointestinal health – for example, poor gastric acid secretion affects absorption of vitamin B12.
How Do Bioavailable Supplements Work?
There are multiple methods to increase bioavailability of active ingredients, but most of them will focus on increasing absorption rather than decreasing secretion. The precise methods or reasons for increasing bioavailability will vary by active ingredient.
Here are just a few examples.
Why Do We Care About Bioavailability?
Nutrients that are bioavailable are easy for your body to utilize. Todd Runestad, ingredients and supplements editor, New Hope Network, and advisor to Tespo puts it simply: “Bioavailability is the amount of an ingredient circulating in your blood.