Bioavailability refers to the proportion of a nutrient that is able to be absorbed and utilized by the body. It is a measure of how well a nutrient can be used by the body and it depends on the form in which it is consumed, as well as on other factors such as the individual’s health status, diet, and other medications.
The bioavailability of a nutrient can be affected by a variety of factors, including the form in which it is consumed, the presence of other substances that can enhance or inhibit its absorption, and the individual’s health status. For example, the bioavailability of iron from plant sources is generally lower than from animal sources, because the iron in plant sources is less well absorbed than the iron in animal sources. Similarly, calcium from supplements is less well absorbed than calcium from food.
Bioavailability can also be affected by interactions between different nutrients, for example, vitamin C improves the absorption of non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plant-based food.
It’s important to note that bioavailability should be taken into consideration when developing a nutrition plan and when making recommendations for nutrient intake. The bioavailability of a nutrient can vary significantly depending on the form in which it is consumed, and it’s important to select forms that are well absorbed by the body.