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Five Methods for Improving the Bioavailability of Functional Foods

2018-11-09 09:33 Friday

Many consumers are accustomed to comparing the nutrition value of different functional food products, choosing the product with the highest nutritional content, and thinking little about their choice. Little do they know that hidden from their "cost effectiveness" analysis, is the danger that the product has little biological utility.

Bioavailability is the measure of how well drugs, dietary supplements, nutrients or functional substances are used in the body. There are four factors that influence the bioavailability of food: digestibility, presence of nutrients, coexistence of nutrients with other food components, and  needs of the human body and the sufficient levels of nutrients.


As the concept of "Comprehensive Health" has become increasingly popular across society improving product bioavailability of products has become an essential strategy for functional food companies in search of a market niche. This article outlines five of the primary methods for improving bioavailability that functional food producers frequently employ.

Microencapsulation Technology

Microencapsulation technology refers to the use of natural or synthetic polymer embedding material to coat solid, liquid or even gaseous material into a micro,   semi-permeable or sealed capsules in the range of 1-5000 mm in diameter.

Combination Technology

Combination Technology makes use of interactions between different materials. For example, when curcumin is mixed with piperine, the bioavailability of curcumin increases by a factor of twenty.

Cyclodextrin Camplexation Techniques

Cyclodextrin is a natural non-reducing oligosaccharide. Natural cyathiform cyclodextrin molecules with hydrophobic inner cavities and hydrophilic outer cavities can attract and contain hydrophobic molecules, thereby masking unpleasant tastes and smells and stabilizing easily degradable or volatile molecules.

Sustained-release Preparations/ Controlled-release Preparations

Sustained-release preparations are drugs that can be released slowly and continuously over a long time, but not necessarily at a uniform rate.

Controlled-release preparations are drugs that can be released at a predetermined rate, so that the blood concentration remains constant for a long time within the effective concentration range.

Intestinal Flora

Human intestinal flora can transform natural products into active ingredients with smaller relative molecular and fat solubility enhancement, through demethylation, hydrolysis reaction and redox reaction, which are easily absorbed.

Other Technologies

In addition to the five main methods mentioned above,  functional food companies from around the world are actively exploring other technologies to improve biological utilization, and have achieved promising results.

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