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what is the deal with bioavailability

Bioavailability is a very critical issue that affects all of us and the foods that we eat. Defined, bioavailability is the degree which nutrients found in our foods is available for absorption and utilization by our bodies. This information on nutrient availability is important in the establishment of nutrient recommendations of various foods and affects everything from food labeling to the marketing of supplements and baby formulas.

Bioavailability is important to study because of the constant shift of the public’s dietary habits. This shift is the result of health concerns, economics, personal preferences and special circumstances such as pregnancy or the onset of diabetes. Because of the almost constant barrage of new “convenient” food options, it is important to determine what effects food processing has on nutrients. Also, because of the high rate of Americans who now take supplements, it is also important to determine the overall effectiveness of taking nutrients this way. Finally, it is also critical to find out how certain prescription drugs affect the way our bodies take up nutrients.  

Measuring Bioavailability

Analyzing the way our bodies take up nutrients is no easy trick, but researchers have discovered various techniques which they can use to measure how a certain vitamin or mineral is utilized by our bodies, They use the analytical techniques of liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and the use of tracers to help indentify nutrients in foods and to follow them to certain bodily tissues and fluids. They can also analyze certain enzyme levels that are dependent on certain nutrients.

Several factors that are found to influence bioavailability are:

-Digestion of the Food
-Absorption of the Nutrients via the Small Intestine
-Distribution of the nutrients through blood
-Uptake of the nutrients by the tissue and fluid

What Effects Bioavailability

Certain food components can have both positive and negative effects on nutrient availability. Some nutrients such as iron and Vitamin C, work well together, enhancing uptake while others can end up creating complexes that are impossible to absorb such as the case with oxalates and calcium. Whether the food is cooked or raw also has an effect on bioavailability. For example, meat that this cooked is better for the absorption of copper while cooking vegetables essentially leaches away many of the vital nutrients.

Food choices also play an important part. Vegetarians for example, may have trouble getting adequate amounts of B6, since the glucose molecules reduce its bioavailability in plants as opposed to meats like tuna.

Studying Bioavailability is important as we continue to grow and change as a society. Discovering things like the importance of folic acid for pregnant women and the need to eat raw fruits and vegetables can be attributed to this study. As researchers become more skilled in finding out how the foods we eat affect our bodies, the public can become better educated on what foods they should be eating for optimal health.
Six Nutrition supplements for men is unique because it provides you with 6 different vitamin pills, each tackling a different aspect of men’s health.

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