Bioavailability v. Absorption
Not all supplements are created equally. Different types of supplements have different levels of bioavailability. The bioavailability of a supplement refers to the amount of nutrition in the supplement that is available to the body for absorption. Absorption is the body’s ability to receive nutrients and bring them into the blood stream. It makes sense then that you would want to be taking a supplement that had a high percentage of nutrients readily available for the body to absorb, otherwise you are just wasting your money and kidding yourself.
The Bioavailability Spectrum
Let’s take a closer look at the bioavailability of supplements on a spectrum, from least bioavailable to most bioavailable. On the low end of the spectrum you would have an inexpensive, store bought, hard-packed pill. Something brightly colored that you can’t break with your fingers. Such supplements have many fillers and binders, including ingredients that can be found in wood putty and tar. You can’t take these on an empty stomach, or else you’ll get an upset stomach. These are difficult to digest and breakdown, and often times your body doesn’t at all. And these have been known to have been passed whole! For that reason you can understand why they have a bioavailability of 0-25%. So, just as a reminder, when you look at the daily values of nutrients on the label of these products, your body is not getting those percentages of nutrition but rather up to 25% tops.
Moving up the bioavailability spectrum we come to the capsule delivery system. They have no fillers or binders, and you usually have to take larger quantities of these because they are not very concentrated. The bioavailability is a little better, but still only 40-60%.
Getting higher up the bioavailability spectrum brings us to liquid supplements. These are better then the previous two in bioavailability and range between 80-90%, but many liquid herbs and oils do not taste very good.
Finally we arrive to isotonic-capable supplements. Isotonic supplements are the most bioavailable delivery of supplements and are up to 95% absorbable.
More on the science……
It is important to note that not all liquids are isotonic capable, again it is a specific ratio of medicine or nutrients to water which makes it isotonic. Everything that you ingest and put into your stomach has to be digested down to an isotonic state before it is released to the small intestine. When you eat some food and take a standard pill or capsule vitamin, it all remains in your stomach digesting for anywhere from 40 minutes to 4 hours. At that point a certain amount of dilution of nutrients has taken place. Some low quality pills do not even break down due to harsh fillers and binders, but still pass to the small intestine where none of the content of the supplement can be absorbed. This is why the bioavailability of pills and capsules are so significantly lower than isotonic capable supplements.
So now back to why all this discussion about supplementation? Well, I was recently introduced to Isotonix OPC-3 and before I went on about this product I wanted to inform all of you what exactly it is for and why it may be of importance. Isotonix OPC-3 is the a natural and powerful free radical neutralizer and antioxidant . This product is an isotonic capable food supplement that is made from a combination of bilberry, grape seed, red wine, pine bark extracts and citrus extract bioflavonoids, which are all found to be potent and powerful antioxidants.
– Combats free radicals
– Demonstrates anti-inflammatory activity
– Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
– Helps maintain healthy circulation by strengthening capillaries, arteries and veins
– Helps maintain joint flexibility
– Helps promote/support cardiovascular health
– Helps reduce mild menstrual cramping and abdominal pain
– Helps support visual health/visual acuity
– Potent free radical scavenger
– Promotes/Supports healthy blood vessel dilation
– Promotes/Supports healthy nitric oxide levels
– Supports a healthy complexion
– Supports healthy blood glucose levels
– Supports healthy platelet activity
– Supports healthy sperm quality
Food for Thought 🙂