Accounting for differences in the bioactivity and bioavailability of vitamers
AbstractEssentially all vitamins exist with multiple nutritionally active chemical species often called vitamers. Our quantitative understanding of the bioactivity and bioavailability of the various members of each vitamin family has increased markedly, but many issues remain to be resolved concerning the reporting and use of analytical data. Modern methods of vitamin analysis rely heavily on chromatographic techniques that generally allow the measurement of the individual chemical forms of vitamins. Typical applications of food analysis include the evaluation of shelf life and storage stability, monitoring of nutrient retention during food processing, developing food composition databases and data needed for food labeling, assessing dietary adequacy and evaluating epidemiological relationships between diet and disease. Although the usage of analytical data varies depending on the situation, important issues regarding how best to present and interpret the data in light of the presence of multiple vitamers are common to all aspects of food analysis. In this review, we will evaluate the existence of vitamers that exhibit differences in bioactivity or bioavailability, consider when there is a need to address differences in bioactivity or bioavailability of vitamers, and then consider alternative approaches and possible ways to improve the reporting of data. Major examples are taken from literature and experience with vitamin B6 and folate.
Keywords: Vitamin; vitamers; bioactivity; bioavailability; analysis; databases
(Published: 2 April 2012)
Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2012. 56: 5809 - DOI: 10.3402/fnr.v56i0.5809
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