Are you one of those people that starts double fisting cups of Emergen-c the second you feel a cold coming on? I used to be big on taking vitamins, until I realized I get enough vitamins and minerals from my diet.
Since I am taking advanced micronutrients this semester (think: an entire lecture dedicated just to Vitamin C), I wanted to give you some insight into how nutrients are absorbed in the body.
First of all, what you intake is not the same as what is available. So if you drink an Emergen-c, not all of the 1,000 milligrams will be absorbed. This is due to a term known as bioavailability.
Bioavailability refers to the fact that even if there is a large amount of nutrients present in a substance, the body is not able to uptake all of it. This is due to a variety of reasons including insufficient enzymes or if the quality of the nutrient is not high. If food is not digested properly, then nutrients are not available to be absorbed by cells.
Additionally, many vitamins and minerals often work against each other for absorption. A few examples of this are:
Zinc hinders copper and calcium absorption
Iron hinders zinc absorption
Calcium hinders magnesium and iron absorption
So, the extent to which your body is able to absorb a nutrient is dependent on if the food is digested and if there are other minerals present.
What vitamins do you take?