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The "Willner Window" Radio Show. Your source of nutritional supplement information and interviews, weekly, for 18 years. Listen to archived mp3 audio files.

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Vitamin Supplements: Absorption and Bioavailability

Enhanced Bioavailability
Nutritional supplement manufacturers are continuously working on ways to enhance the bioavailability of their supplements. Different companies utilize various techniques. Country Life has developed a methodology utilizing a combination of techniques, the details of which are presented by Ken Israel in the following explanation.
Biologically Active Formulation: Maximizing Nutrient Uptake and Multivitamin Performance
The promise of nutritional supplementation can only be realized if the nutrients are effectively delivered in an active form at the cellular level. This is a challenge that, to date, has not been actively engaged and may present as the next frontier in the development of nutrient formulas. The current main stream of nutritional formulation is based on the premise that if enough of a nutrient is given to the body, some of it will be delivered to the cell. Furthermore, little attention is focused on the ability of the cells to utilize what is delivered. A discussion of the challenges and potential solutions will provide insights into selecting formulas that can maximize nutrient uptake and performance in the body.
A discussion of nutrient uptake would be incomplete if some basic assumptions are not explored. The first assumption is that there is tremendous variability in the general health, digestive function, initial nutrient status, and cellular function in the population taking a specific formula, even when the formula is oriented to a specific audience (Men's, Woman's, Vegetarian, etc). These biochemical differences are further compounded by fluctuations in the individuals' health, and the composition of the meals that are consumed in proximity to the nutrient formula. The result is a huge array of challenges and conditions that must be reconciled to effect good results. Something we all must avoid is the preconceived notion that some nutrient forms feature a specific rate of assimilation, there are only varying degrees of bioavailability. The next assumption that needs to be challenged is that all systems of digestion, transport, cellular assimilation, and activation are working optimally. This is a difficult area to address as even outright failures of systems can produce unclear symptoms that are often not diagnosed. It is clear however that modern life places stress on all of these systems and that a program of general support may provide benefits. The final, but perhaps most important assumption that needs to be addressed is the role of dietary supplements. They need to be viewed, and used, as part of a program of healthy living. While the results can often seam miraculous, they are not miracle cures and expectations need to be realistic.
As we have briefly discussed, the challenges to optimal function are more diverse than the number of people using dietary supplements. As a means of providing some level of simplicity the obstacles should be clarified so as to address them in an orderly fashion.
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