Getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to buying vitamins and supplements entails more than just shopping around for the best bargain these days.
It’s easy to comparison shop and see that the price per unit for one item is more or less than the other. But when it comes to what you get out of each dosage, there are some major factors at play that can affect how much of your supplement you’re actually able to absorb into your bloodstream.
Bioavailability is essentially the amount of each dose that you’re able to absorb.
So why should you be concerned about the bioavailability of your supplements?
Why Is Bioavailability Important?
The amount of each dose that is unaltered and readily available for absorption into the bloodstream comparative to the whole is referred to by doctors as the bioavailability of a supplement.
Bioavailability is typically expressed as a percentage or a range from 0 to 1. So if something has a bioavailability of 0.7, it’s said to have a 70% rate of bioavailability. This means that you’ll be able to absorb and use about 70% of the supplement and the remaining 30% will be eliminated as waste.
No one likes to flush money down the drain, but when you’ve got low bioavailability of a supplement or drug, you’re doing just that.
What Affects The Bioavailability Of Vitamins And Supplements?
There are many factors that can affect the bioavailability of a vitamin or supplement.
A few of the most common reasons that bioavailability may be lowered for some individuals and for certain supplements are:
- Concentration of the nutrient - how potent was the dosage to begin with? A low potency can affect absorption rates
- Dietary factors - poor diet can negatively impact bioavailability
- Chemical form - the delivery method matters. Your body can absorb some forms of a supplement or drug more efficiently than others
- Supplements taken separately from meals - there are some supplements that are more easily absorbed when taken with a meal. Fat-soluble vitamins need to dissolve in oil, so a meal is always advised when taking these forms of supplements.
- Nutrition and health of the individual - poor overall health can make a body less able to absorb a nutrient. Health issues like Crohn’s Disease have been linked to decreased absorption levels for nutrients and minerals.
There are a lot of different variables at play when it comes to what can increase and decrease your body’s absorption rates for nutrients. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that you can counteract low bioavailability.
How Can You Increase The Bioavailability Of Vitamins And Supplements?
Because every body is different, bioavailability for each person and drug varies. A teenager and a retiree have different rates and effectiveness levels that their bodies can process and absorb nutrients at.
Since there is no uniform system for reporting the absorption rate of supplements, it is uncommon for a vitamin or supplement manufacturer to attempt to list such information on packaging.
Without a full panel of bloodwork and a medical examination, it’d be very difficult to determine the level of absorption for an individual. Don’t fret though! This doesn’t mean that a high percentage of every supplement you take has to be unceremoniously flushed.
Here are the ways that you can increase the bioavailability of vitamins and supplements:
- A balanced diet - If your body is running on Oreo’s and pizza, you’re not going to be able to absorb nutrients as effectively as you could with a more balanced diet. Many nutrients are more readily absorbed with a meal, especially fat-soluble vitamins.
- Potency - Always make sure that you’re purchasing your supplements from a reputable manufacturer. Multiple studies have shown that poor quality supplements and vitamins are a widespread problem. Mislabeling of vitamins has been shown to be at around 51%. That means that over half of all vitamins on the market contain extra ingredients that aren’t listed or don’t contain the ingredients that they claim to. It’s a big problem in the industry, so always be sure to do your research.
- Overall health - Almost all stomach and digestive related health issues have been linked to lower absorption rates for many drugs and supplements. A weakened lining of the gut, food allergies, bacterial growths (like candida), intestinal damage, and autoimmune diseases are all associated with poor rates of bioavailability. If you suspect that you may be suffering from one of these ailments, you could be struggling with bioavailability issues as well. Vitamin and supplement deficiencies could lead to lasting negative health outcomes, so addressing underlying medical problems can not only increase bioavailability, but longevity and vitality as well.
- The method of delivery - What form you take your supplements in is especially important for bioavailability. Pill, powder, and liquid forms of supplements are not the most effective method of delivery for a majority of vitamins. These forms are easily destroyed in the stomach, meaning less of the dose is available for absorption. The best method of delivery for most vitamins, supplements, and drugs is through IV.
Liposomes And Bioavailability - What You Need To Know To Increase Absorption
Going to get an IV for your daily dose of vitamin C isn’t a practical plan. Fortunately, there are alternatives to intravenous administration that are more sustainable, affordable, and still increase bioavailability.
The most effective form of delivery aside from IV is through liposomal encapsulation.
If you’re not familiar with liposomes, you’re missing out! They’re one of the best ways to deliver a drug or supplement and doctors have been using them to deliver cancer treatment drugs to patients for decades.
The reason liposomes are a popular delivery method for such important and life-saving drugs is because of their ability to direct drugs to specific areas and to preserve more of the drug for absorption.
Liposomes are tiny molecules that envelope a drug, supplement, or vitamin in a protective sheath. The protective barrier that the liposomes provide prevents stomach acids from deteriorating the drugs and lowering bioavailability.
These microscopic molecules also have a similar structure to human cells. This similarity allows liposomes to almost mimic a human cell. This leads to the body recognizing liposomes and the drugs within as a part of the body, as opposed to a foreign invader that needs to be attacked and removed.
The mimicry of cells provides for faster absorption into the bloodstream, meaning more bioavailability.
Follow our blog if you’re looking for more information on how you can increase the bioavailability of your vitamins and supplements with liposomes.