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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

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Factors Affecting Intestinal Absorption of Highly Lipophilic Food Microconstituents (Fat-Soluble Vitamins, Carotenoids and Phytosterols)

Patrick Borel
Published Online: 2005-06-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2003.151


Highly lipophilic food microconstituents (HLFMs) with octanol-water partition coefficients log10 pc> 8 include the fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D and K) and phytochemicals with potential health benefits, the carotenoids and phytosterols. It has been assumed that these compounds have the same metabolism in the human upper gastrointestinal tract and that they follow the same fate as lipids. However, a literature review shows that the metabolism of HLFMs in the upper gastrointestinal tract depends on each HLFM species. For example, some HLFM esters are hydrolyzed mainly by pancreatic lipase, others by bile salt-stimulated lipase; some HLFMs are apparently absorbed by passive diffusion, others by a transporter. Also, although some factors (HLFM molecular species, fat, food matrix) affect absorption efficiency of most HLFMs, other factors (fibers, microconstituents) apparently affect absorption only of some HLFMs. The mnemonic acronym SLAMENGHI, previously proposed to list the factors affecting the bioavailability of carotenoids, was used here to review current knowledge of the factors suspected to affect the intestinal absorption of HLFMs. The available data reveal numerous gaps in the knowledge of the metabolism of HLFMs and the factors that affect their absorption. These gaps need to be filled to be able to formulate HLFMs so as to promote greater absorption efficiency.

Published Online: 2005-06-01

Published in Print: 2003-08-07

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 41, Issue 8, Pages 979–994, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2003.151, June 2005

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