Calcium, iron, vitamin C; all of these nutrients are familiar and necessary for optimal health. We know that they should be part of our diet, but often isn’t discussed is how these nutrients are actually absorbed into the body. There are in fact a variety of factors that contribute to a nutrient’s ability to be used by the body, otherwise known as it’s bioavailability. While metabolism and nutrient absorption are very complicated processes, here are a few key things that you can learn about bioavailability:
Interaction With Other Nutrients
There are many vital nutrients that can’t get properly absorbed on their own; they require other nutrients to be available or else they will leave the body as waste. For example, vitamin C improves the body’s absorption and storage of iron, and vitamin D provides a similar function for calcium. Conversely, though, if some nutrients are in too high of a concentration, they can prevent other nutrients from being used; zinc, while being a necessary nutrient for the immune system and other important functions, can inhibit iron absorption if present in excess.
Within a variety of common foods, there are substances known as antinutrients, with two of the most common being phytates and oxalates. These substances will bind to important nutrients such as calcium and iron, making them unusable for the body. Some of the foods highest in antinutrients are beans, seeds, grains, and certain dark leafy greens like spinach. However, the presence of antinutrients doesn’t mean you have to eliminate these foods from your diet. One common way to reduce antinutrient content is to soak the food in water for an extended period of time, such as soaking beans overnight. Additionally, you can sprout seeds and grains by soaking them in water before putting them in a specialized sprouting vessel. Sprouting and soaking may take more time and effort, but both processes can significantly improve the nutritional quality of these foods.
As with just about everything involving health, there’s a level of individuality to bioavailability. Some of the individual factors that can affect how the body processes nutrients include age, activity level, overall health, and genetics. For instance, the very young and very old typically have a slower metabolism, and a large percentage of the world's population is genetically unable to process lactose as adults. Recommended guidelines are still helpful, but you can always visit your doctor if you’re concerned about nutrient deficiency to get a more detailed look at exactly how your body absorbs nutrients.
All of these reasons are why you should research your food, and especially your supplements. There are so many supplements on the market that are not high in bioavailability, meaning that you’re paying for something your body can’t use. With fortifying nutrients such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and more, you can feel confident with Obvi Collagen Protein Powder that your body will be able to absorb all the goodness inside!