How Vitamins are Absorbed: A Comprehensive Guide

Vitamins are essential for the normal metabolism of animals, but they are not synthesized in the body or are synthesized in inadequate quantities and must be obtained from the diet. When you ingest a vitamin, it immediately enters your digestive system and with the help of hydrochloric acid and other stomach enzymes, vitamins and nutrients are released from their carrier (food or pill) and the pancreas releases bile to aid the digestion process. The vitamins then pass into the small intestine and then into the blood. These vitamins, which are absorbed into the bloodstream, are then passed on to the liver.

If vitamins are needed immediately or if they can be stored for later use, the excess of absorbed vitamins will pass to the kidneys and then be released through the urine. Not everything can be used though. Nutrients that are not bioavailable are destroyed or excreted. That means that just because a food contains a particular micronutrient or vitamin, doesn't necessarily mean that the body is using it. Absorption is important, and several things can affect vitamin absorption.

Some groups of people actually benefit from vitamin supplements, such as those who are pregnant, have restrictive diets (either by choice or medical necessity), or have limited exposure to sunlight. Because of the liver's involvement in vitamin absorption, many alcoholics have low levels of folate and biotin, to name a few. Most vitamin C supplements are composed of synthetic ascorbic acid, which has a similar bioavailability to the natural ascorbic acid found in foods such as fresh oranges and cooked broccoli. The percentage of the vitamin that the body actually absorbs depends on many factors, such as the vitamin itself, age, the amount of vitamin the body needs due to its individual biomechanical needs (such as pregnancy or the growth of children) and even the time of day. One of the best ways to help improve your transportation is to consume healthy fats with foods rich in fat-soluble vitamins to ensure that your body can absorb them properly. Most of the vitamins and minerals you consume are also absorbed in the small intestine, but each requires its own unique mechanism to pass through the intestinal cell lining.

For example, vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness because it is responsible for the production of pigments in the eye's retina. Bioavailability is the ease with which the body can absorb the nutrient, which plays an important role in the effectiveness of a supplement or vitamin. Taking vitamin B12 with vitamin C can reduce the bioavailability of vitamin B12, so if you're taking both supplements, it's best to keep them separate for a few hours. Choose a calcium supplement that combines with vitamin D, or take calcium together with foods rich in vitamin D, such as eggs (with the yolk), mushrooms and fatty fish. Safe, easy and effective, ONMi vitamin patches contain no added sugar, artificial colors or other harmful ingredients found in vitamins and supplements in pill form. A good starting point is the multivitamin ONMi, which provides four different vitamins for a healthy daily life.

Ben Liebhardt
Ben Liebhardt

Amateur travel fanatic. General web buff. Certified travel junkie. Twitter nerd. Infuriatingly humble web practitioner. Certified beer nerd.

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