19

votes

Let's figure out how can we can best absorb nutrients

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 18, 2012 at 12:37 AM

I'm interested in making a list of how to best absorb specific nutrients. Whether or not we always want to best absorb each nutrient is debatable, but I think putting this information together could be really beneficial. I started with iron and calcium. If you know some others, let me know. It will be added and appreciated.

B Vitamins: Biotin absorption is decreased by avidin, an antinutrient in raw eggs (31). Cooking denatures avidin and increases biotin bioavailability.

Beta-carotene: Beta carotene (being fat soluble) is better absorbed with fat (13). Absorption is decreased by pectin (15) and helminths, apparently (14). I guess that's a good to thing to know if you're a fan of the hygiene hypothesis and were planning to eat an intestinal parasite to cure your allergies. (perhaps add distinction between vitamin A/beta-carotene?)

Calcium: Calcium absorption is increased by vitamin D (1), enough, but not too much, magnesium (2), soluble fibers like inulin (3), and dietary protein (4). Calcium absorption is decreased by whole wheat (5), fibers in fruits and vegetables like cellulose (6,7) and oxalic acid (8).

Iron: Iron absorption is increased by vitamin C (9) and decreased by phytic acid (11), calcium (23, 24), and tannins/phenolic compounds found in things like tea, coffee, and wine (10). Vitamin A and beta carotene appear to increase non-heme iron absorption by reducing the effect of phytic acid and polyphenols (25).

Lipids: Catechins like EGCG in green tea appears to decrease fat and cholesterol absorption (19,20). I think this could be good or bad depending on what kind of fat you're talking about.

Magnesium: Magnesium absorption is increased by being vitamin D replete (30) and decreased by phytic acid (15,16) and oxalic acid (17).

Protein: Egg protein is more digestible after cooking (21). Drinking a lot of water with a meal may decrease protein digestion by diluting hydrochloric acid in the stomach. I haven't seen any hard studies on this, but Chris Kresser has said this before and I tend to trust him.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E absorption is increased by some fat (26) but not really that much is needed (27). Vitamin E absorption is decreased by naringenin (27), which is found in grapefruit. Sesamin (found in sesame seeds) increases y-tocopherol absorption (28).

Zinc: Zinc absorption appears to be increased by meat protein and decreased by phytic acid, casein, soy protein, and iron (12). (perhaps add reference to zinc/copper balance?)

So...what else helps us poop out less of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients we eat?

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on August 19, 2012
at 05:55 AM

Skeptics also want to know ... do we need to dissolve meat faster? I honestly don't know the answer to that question.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 18, 2012
at 09:43 PM

Vitamin A-containing vegetables also taste real good with fat. Must be a connection.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:48 PM

Amy, considering the risks of high iron levels, maybe that glass of wine with your steak isn't so bad =P

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:44 PM

This is a good point, we shouldn't forget about vitamin K, especially K2.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Peer reviewed journals would be good, WAPF often cites their sources so that would probably be fine. I think we can probably evaluate each source pretty easily. The stomach acid thing makes sense, I'll also look for some sources when I get off work tonight. Thanks for your contribution!

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Good one, thanks Amy. I wonder if all fat soluble vitamins are increased with fat, it would make sense.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 18, 2012
at 02:14 PM

I made a couple edits to suggest items to add, and put these in alpha order--hope you don't mind. I like this question, and hope it results in a useful list.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 18, 2012
at 02:06 PM

Re: beta-caortene conversion to vitamin A: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10961168 Seems iron, copper and fructose are factors, at least in rat studies. Haven't read the full text yet.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 18, 2012
at 02:02 PM

I believe this claim 100%, but it *would* be nice to have a research citation to answer skeptics.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 18, 2012
at 02:00 PM

I think it's "FOR THE WIN!" more than "for the win." ;-)

6d64cd6dc98d6ab763bd03678a317964

(2177)

on August 18, 2012
at 01:37 PM

Hahaha Michael....sure it is...

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on August 18, 2012
at 01:03 PM

Drinking liquids during a meal dilutes your stomach acid, prevent complete digestion of proteins. For evidence, put a small bit of meat in 100% vinegar and the same sized bit of meat in another jar that contains 50% diluted vinegar and see how long each takes to dissolve.

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:23 PM

What evidence is there to support this? I am interested to find out.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on August 18, 2012
at 04:28 AM

'for the win'...

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:15 AM

Vitamin A is absorbed in the presence of fat. I don't think I've ever read about Beta-carotene being better absorbed or better converted with fat, but I imagine it would be better absorbed. I don't really see any reason why it might be better converted with fat. Either way, beta carotene->Vit A conversion is inefficient.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on August 18, 2012
at 02:54 AM

Are you telling me I'm absorbing less iron from a steak if I have a glass of red wine alongside? (Phenols and tannins.) *Cry!* I'll survive. Don't *usually* have wine with dinner...just once in a while.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 18, 2012
at 02:14 AM

what is FTW????

  • A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

    asked by

    (12682)
  • Views
    3.8K
  • Last Activity
    1433D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

9
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:50 AM

Good gut biota FTW.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 18, 2012
at 02:00 PM

I think it's "FOR THE WIN!" more than "for the win." ;-)

6d64cd6dc98d6ab763bd03678a317964

(2177)

on August 18, 2012
at 01:37 PM

Hahaha Michael....sure it is...

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on August 18, 2012
at 02:14 AM

what is FTW????

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on August 18, 2012
at 04:28 AM

'for the win'...

4
C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

on August 18, 2012
at 01:24 AM

I REALLY like this question, but second the 'gut biota' and the phrase "whether or not we always want to best absorb each nutrient is debatable". Just sayin'. I'm voting organs and bone broth.

3
A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 18, 2012
at 02:07 PM

I like this question and want to contribute. Before I do, I'm curious what kind of citation/substantiation will cut it in a list like this? In other words, who do we trust?

Can we turn to Weston A. Price Foundation, for instance, or must citations come from peer-reviewed journals or something? (I am not particularly qualified to read/interpret those....).

Also, I know that some nutrients--minerals in particular--are better absorbed in the presence of stomach acid, and/or perhaps digestive enzymes. Wondering if this could be referenced (if we can find good research supporting it). Some with poor stomach acid might not be able to absorb sufficient amounts of certain minerals, and then the effects can sort of cascade from there, affecting absorption of still other nutrients. I'll do some digging, but maybe someone who already knows will beat me to the punch.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Peer reviewed journals would be good, WAPF often cites their sources so that would probably be fine. I think we can probably evaluate each source pretty easily. The stomach acid thing makes sense, I'll also look for some sources when I get off work tonight. Thanks for your contribution!

3
194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:04 PM

Not diluting your stomach acid with water during a meal. Save your drinkin' for at least 30 minutes before a meal, and 1.5-2 hours afterwards.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on August 18, 2012
at 02:02 PM

I believe this claim 100%, but it *would* be nice to have a research citation to answer skeptics.

C0c839648b31512515daaffe8e4e9ad1

(468)

on August 18, 2012
at 12:23 PM

What evidence is there to support this? I am interested to find out.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on August 18, 2012
at 01:03 PM

Drinking liquids during a meal dilutes your stomach acid, prevent complete digestion of proteins. For evidence, put a small bit of meat in 100% vinegar and the same sized bit of meat in another jar that contains 50% diluted vinegar and see how long each takes to dissolve.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on August 19, 2012
at 05:55 AM

Skeptics also want to know ... do we need to dissolve meat faster? I honestly don't know the answer to that question.

3
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on August 18, 2012
at 02:58 AM

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that the beta carotene in things like carrots and sweet potatoes are better converted to vitamin A in the presence of fat. (Or is the carotene just better absorbed in the presence of fat? Don't remember.) Maybe not a problem for people getting plenty of true vitamin A from animal sources, but for those who lean a little lower on animal fats/organs and stick to mostly veggies, could be important.

Put some butter on that sweet potato! Or olive oil/butter on the carrots. YUM.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Good one, thanks Amy. I wonder if all fat soluble vitamins are increased with fat, it would make sense.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:15 AM

Vitamin A is absorbed in the presence of fat. I don't think I've ever read about Beta-carotene being better absorbed or better converted with fat, but I imagine it would be better absorbed. I don't really see any reason why it might be better converted with fat. Either way, beta carotene->Vit A conversion is inefficient.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 18, 2012
at 09:43 PM

Vitamin A-containing vegetables also taste real good with fat. Must be a connection.

2
Ee04db68fcab556868524acb55ac5fd4

on August 18, 2012
at 01:54 PM

Your body needs to metabolize calcium as well as just absorb it. Too much calcium that can't be put to use will pave the path to disc fractures and osteoporosis. You want more saturated fats, but especially vitamin K if you want your body to absorb calcium efficiently and put it to use safely.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on August 18, 2012
at 03:44 PM

This is a good point, we shouldn't forget about vitamin K, especially K2.

1
F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

on August 19, 2012
at 06:23 PM

I can tell you that the research seems to indicate that B vitamins, particularly b12, seem to be better absorbed sublingually than orally. I did a LOT of reading when I found out that I was severely deficient (combo of celiac and a b12 transportace deficiency)

1
01adafcb4dd4147c6af543f61eee60a8

on August 18, 2012
at 07:16 AM

Gut biota? I learn something everyday.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!