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Current Research in Food Science
Volume 5, 2022, 228-233

Trust your gut: Bioavailability and bioaccessibility of dietary compounds

Daniele Bobrowski Rodriguesa, Marcella Camargo Marquesb, Adriele Hackeb, Paulo Sérgio Loubet Filhob, Cinthia Baú Betim Cazarinb, Lilian Regina Barros Mariuttib

Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Brasilia, Campus Darcy Ribeiro, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.


Studying the composition of a certain food is not enough to predict its health benefits. Research over the past decades has decisively strengthened the notion that any putative health benefit is best related to the fraction of compounds transferred from ingested foods into the body since the absorption may be incomplete after oral consumption. In other words, the bioavailability of food components is crucial information. Therefore, a variety of in vitro models have been developed to predict their bioaccessibility and bioavailability in the most diverse food matrices and food products. These models can also be applied to study the impact of several endogenous or exogenous factors on the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of nutrients and bioactive compounds, guiding nutrition and food scientists, technologists, and engineers towards the development of strategies to optimize the positive impact of the diet on well-being and quality of life. While bioavailability is ideally examined in human volunteers, in vitro digestion methods, as well as intestinal absorption and microphysiological models, simulate human physiological conditions. Additionally, in vitro methods are alternatives to offset ethical, economical, and experimental limitations associated with in vivo studies conducted either with individuals or animals. This graphical review draws parallels between in vitro models mimicking digestion processes, uptake, absorption, metabolism, and distribution of dietary compounds and human physiology.

Keywords: In vitro digestion, Nutrient absorption, Transepithelial transport, Nutrient distribution, Microphysiological systems, Intestinal cell models.

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