What is bioavailability and why does Lumity come in a softgel?

-Aug 12, Sara Palmer Hussey PhD , Health -

What is bioavailability

Substantiated by research and clinical studies, Lumity’s flagship day and night supplements simultaneously target a wide range of interdependent processes in the body to deliver the most effective support at the right time for the greatest number of benefits.

Nutrient Delivery Format

There are many different ways of supplementing. You can choose between powders, tablets, capsules and supplement drinks. Your choice is based on personal preferences, but the results achieved by each different delivery system depend upon the specific nutrients contained in each supplement and the body’s ability to absorb those nutrients from that format.

What is bioavailability

Nutrients are divided into water-soluble (eg vitamins B and C) and fat-soluble (eg. vitamins A, D, E, K, coenzyme q10). Most supplements are taken with water, which should ensure the absorption of water-soluble nutrients. However, if no fat is present in the supplement (eg. in tablets, powders and hard capsules), the supplement must be taken with a meal that has a sufficient fat content to aid absorption.

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The bioavailability of each nutrient in a supplement also depends on the mix and whether the supplement contains a team of nutrients that facilitates absorption and has synergy of function, or whether nutrients within one formula compete for absorption. For example, both magnesium and zinc compete for absorption with calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper and manganese, so, if integrated in a supplement also containing these minerals, their absorption will be inhibited. Meanwhile, the presence of amino acids, particularly sulphur-containing amino acids such as cysteine, increases their absorption. Vitamin C increases the absorption of chromium and iron, vitamin D increases the utilisation of calcium in the body, magnesium improves absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and vitamin E has a synergistic relationship with selenium where the effect of both working together is greater than the sum of their individual functions.

Stability

For good bioavailability, nutrients must not be degraded before we take them. Some nutrients breakdown quickly when exposed to air or light, including vitamins A, B2, B6, C, D and fish oils. The excellent oxygen-barrier and light-blocking properties of gelatin ensure the prolonged stability of the active ingredients sealed within softgel capsules. In contrast, liquid, powder and tablet formats are particularly susceptible to air and light.

Nutrients in supplements enter the blood stream via the small intestine, so in order to be available they must firstly survive stomach acid intact. Some enzymes, probiotics, herbal extracts, potent antioxidants, such as L-glutathione and alpha lipoic acid, are susceptible to stomach acid and, therefore, have low bioavailability. 

Disintegration

For optimum bioavailability, the supplement must disintegrate easily and rapidly once ingested so that the ingredients are available for absorption. Tablet supplements contain binding ingredients to make them hold together. These binders, together with the compression of tablets during manufacturing, are a major factor affecting the speed and extent of disintegration. 

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In the worse cases, tablets may disintegrate too slowly and fail to provide the specific nutrient to the right intestinal sites, decreasing absorption and potentially causing gastrointestinal upset, or they may not disintegrate at all, passing straight through you. In terms of disintegration, softgel capsules are superior as they melt in the stomach within 3 to 4 minutes, freeing all the active ingredients for absorption.

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