Absorption and efficacy
The efficacy of a health supplement is highly depending on its Bioavailability – the amount of the active ingredients absorbed and utilized by our body. Better absorption, or bio-availability, means that the body can potentially use more of the active ingredients per serving, and therefore receive increased benefit.
Problem of absorption
Many oil/fats/lipids -soluble health supplements are not satisfactorily absorbed; because the oily or solid states of these supplements do not mix properly with or dissolve in water, thus poorly absorbed and gone to waste unknowingly.
The fundamental issue in the digestion and absorption of oil is solubility,
- a) oil is not soluble in water and tends to congeal together into large masses.
- b) the digestive enzyme – lipase is water soluble.
Thus, when without assistance, the lipases would not have access to most of the oil molecules in the aqueous (water) environment of the digestive tract; but can only work at the surface of oil molecules. Therefore, the oil (including oil soluble active ingredients) would pass through the digestive tract without being digested.
Digestion of oil is aided by a substance produced by the liver and stored (and released) by the gall bladder – bile. Bile salts and phospholipids molecules in the bile have dual nature molecules (half of the molecule is attracted to water and the other half is attracted to oil), break oil masses into small oil droplets (greatly increases oil surface area) and remain suspended in water. This process is called emulsification. Emulsification allows water-soluble lipase to gain access to more oil molecules to digest oil, thus, better absorption.
Research has indicated that emulsified fatty acids (eg. fish oil, evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil and etc.) supplements are likely better absorbed  than standard fatty acids respectively. When these oils are emulsified, they have the potential to improve the digestion and absorption due to a change (to better/increase) in solubility of the supplement.
Gynita® range of soft gel products are formulated with added emulsifier,
- a) to provide extra emulsification in addition of bile emulsification.
- b) to increase the amount of oil droplets with 2 emulsifications.
Therefore, by increasing the solubility of the oils and oil soluble active ingredients, ensuring more oil and oil soluble active ingredients mixing with water, making more tiny oil droplets available for lipase to facilitate digestion for better absorption.
- A randomised cross-over trial in healthy adults indicating improved absorption of omega-3 fatty acids by pre-emulsification. Garaiova I, Guschina IA, Plummer SF, Tang J, Wang D, Plummer NT. Nutr J. 2007 6:4.