Bioavailability and Absorption are Two Crucial Components to the Quality of Any Dietary Supplement
29 January 2017
Whether you are taking medications or dietary supplements or using cosmetics or skin care products, you are affected by the concept of bioavailability. Having a basic comprehension of bioavailability does not require you to become a biochemist, but it does require you to have a common sense approach to choosing your products wisely. Bioavailability essentially refers to the proportion or amount of any given active ingredient in a product that can be absorbed by the body. Certain innovative technologies, such as emulsions, liposomes, and micelles, are used to enhance the bioavailability of personal care products, such as dietary supplements, medications, and skin care products, among others. Additionally, bioavailability is affected by intra- and inter-individual factors (Bohn et al., 2017), such as dietary habits (Borel, 2003), disease status (Annibale et al., 2002; Azar et al., 2011), possibly exercise (Kitamura et al., 1997; Wang et al., 2008), overweight or obesity (Wang et al., 2008), alcohol use (Kitamura et al., 1997; van der Gaag et al., 2000; Walmsley et al., 1998), smoking (Wang et al., 2008), use of illicit drugs (Ryden et al., 2012), age (Casso et al., 2000), the microbiome (Bohn et al., 2015; Sayin et al., 2013; and genetic factors (Borel et al., 2012; Borel et al., 2015). Typically, we need the nutrients that we consume to be assimilated into mixed micelles as a necessary step before they are transported into the cells, which as far as the state of science shows occurs primarily in the small intestine (Bohn et al., 2017).
Micelles and their Importance to Human Physiology and Health
You might be asking yourself, “What is a micelle?” Again, if you are not a biochemist, then you may never have even heard of this term. We will discuss the biological implications of micelles below, but meanwhile micelles are very important compounds that our digestive system uses to allow us to ultimately absorb fat-soluble molecules. A micelle is formed with a fatty acid, a salt of a fatty acid, phospholipids, or other similar molecules (Garavito & Ferguson-Miller, 2001). A micelle essentially has the active ingredient in the inside of a molecule surrounded by an outer shell that is typically of a fat, or lipid, material. See Figure 1 for a graphic representation of a micelle. When we eat fat-soluble substances, the body’s digestive, gastric, and small intestine phases ultimately result in the creation of micelles that allow these nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream to be utilized by our cells (Bohn et al., 2017). Otherwise, they would be excreted into the urine and not be used for our health.
Figure 1. A graphical representation of a micelle
Water-soluble Substances and the Small Intestine
Let us discuss some key points about the term bioavailability and how it relates to your food, dietary supplements, and ultimately, your health.
- Through what we eat and drink (our dietary intake), we supply all nutrients to our body. Nutrients can also be supplied through an IV, injection, or feeding tube, but those are special situations and exceptions.
- As far as the current state of the science knows, absorption of nutrients takes place primarily in the small intestines.
- These cells are covered with a fine water film.
- Only water-soluble substances that can permeate this water film are directly absorbed.
- The bioavailability of highly water-soluble substances, such as saccharides, salts, and vitamin C, is therefore optimal.
- The bioavailability of hardly soluble and many fat-soluble substances is not optimal.
- These include important and essential nutrients, such as curcumin, β carotene, vitamins A, D, E, and K, lutein, and coenzyme Q10.
- Fat-soluble substances cannot permeate the intestinal water film and have to be “pre-treated.”
- This pre-treatment takes place indirectly in the intestine by the formation of micelles using gall salts.
- The precondition for digesting fat is the formation of micelles.
- This process takes time.
- Micelle formation therefore only covers a portion of hardly soluble and fat-soluble substances.
- This means most substances of low solubility are excreted undigested and unused.
- The bioavailability of hardly soluble and many fat-soluble substances is low and less than 25%.
- Thus, approximately 75% of the amount of these ingested substances are excreted in the urine unused.
- For example, anyone taking almost all brands of coenzyme Q10 excretes at least 75% of what is consumed without being utilized by the body.
- In addition, as we age, the body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble substances decreases.
What These Concepts Mean For YOU
Products that have been micellized with all-natural ingredients provide your body distinct benefits. You now have the ability to absorb these active ingredients approaching 100% bioavailability, which means that you get the most for your health and your dollar. Compared to other inferior products on the market, one that has been micellized will be superior in every measurable way. All-natural micellization technology essentially replicates what your small intestine does! Thus, this technology builds on the beauty of Mother Nature’s design for your benefit through better product bioavailability.
Annibale, B., Capurso, G., Delle Fave, G. Consequences of Helicobacter pylori infection on the absorption of micronutrients. Dig. Liver Dis. 2002, 34 Suppl 2, S72‐77.
Azar, M., Basu, A., Jenkins, A. J., Nankervis, A. J. et al. Serum carotenoids and fat‐soluble vitamins in women with type 1 diabetes and preeclampsia: a longitudinal study. Diabetes Care 2011, 34, 1258‐1264.
Bohn T, Desmarchelier C, Dragsted LO, Nielsen CS, Stahl W, Rühl R, Keijer J, Borel P. Host-related factors explaining interindividual variability of carotenoid bioavailability and tissue concentrations in humans. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Jan 19. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600685.
Bohn, T., McDougall, G. J., Alegria, A., Alminger, M. et al. Mind the gap‐deficits in our knowledge of aspects impacting the bioavailability of phytochemicals and their metabolites‐‐a position paper focusing on carotenoids and polyphenols. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2015, 59, 1307‐1323.
Borel, P. Factors affecting intestinal absorption of highly lipophilic food microconstituents (fat soluble vitamins, carotenoids and phytosterols). Clin. Chem. Lab. Med. 2003, 41, 979‐994.
Borel, P. Genetic variations involved in interindividual variability in carotenoid status. Mol. Nutr. Food. Res. 2012, 56, 228‐240.
Borel, P., Desmarchelier, C., Nowicki, M., Bott, R. A combination of single‐nucleotide polymorphisms is associated with interindividual variability in dietary beta‐carotene bioavailability in healthy men. J. Nutr. 2015, 145, 1740‐1747.
Casso, D., White, E., Patterson, R. E., Agurs‐Collins, T. et al. Correlates of serum lycopene in older women. Nutr. Cancer 2000, 36, 163‐169.
Garavito, R., Ferguson-Miller, S. Detergents as tools in membrane biochemistry. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2001, 276 (35), 32403-32406.
Kitamura, Y., Tanaka, K., Kiyohara, C., Hirohata, T. et al. Relationship of alcohol use, physical activity and dietary habits with serum carotenoids, retinol and alpha‐tocopherol among male Japanese smokers. Int. J. Epidemiol. 1997, 26, 307‐314.
Ryden, M., Leanderson, P., Kastbom, K. O., Jonasson, L. Effects of simvastatin on carotenoid status in plasma. Nutr. Metab. Cardiovasc. Dis. 2012, 22, 66‐71.
Sayin, S. I., Wahlstrom, A., Felin, J., Jantti, S. et al. Gut microbiota regulates bile acid metabolism by reducing the levels of tauro‐beta‐muricholic acid, a naturally occurring FXR antagonist. Cell Metab. 2013, 17, 225‐235.
van der Gaag, M. S., van den Berg, R., van den Berg, H., Schaafsma, G. et al. Moderate consumption of beer, red wine and spirits has counteracting effects on plasma antioxidants in middle‐aged men. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 2000, 54, 586‐591.
Walmsley, C. M., Bates, C. J., Prentice, A., Cole, T. J. Relationship between alcohol and nutrient intakes and blood status indices of older people living in the UK: further analysis of data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of people aged 65 years and over, 1994/5. Public Health Nutr. 1998, 1, 157‐167.
Wang, L., Gaziano, J. M., Norkus, E. P., Buring, J. E. et al. Associations of plasma carotenoids with risk factors and biomarkers related to cardiovascular disease in middle‐aged and older women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2008, 88, 747‐754.
Using a Weight Training Log
Demonstration and Description of Exercises
General Principles for
Common Training Mistakes
Weight Training Adaptations
Benefits of Weight Training
Voluntary Muscular Activity
The General Adaptation
All statements made about any products or services mentioned on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products and services are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.