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Specialising the study of fat-soluble vitamins

Fat is an integral part of our food chain. Many substances, such as lipophilic vitamins, need to dissolve in fat in order to produce nutrients. Aiming to predict the bioaccessibility of such lipophilic compounds coming from food or medicines, a research team developed a computer controlled model to simulate the highly complicated mechanisms involved with the kinetics of fat-soluble substances.

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Vitamins are organic compounds necessary for many functions within the human body. While they function in a wide variety of capacities they generally cannot be synthesised by cells and therefore they must be supplied through the diet. They are of two types, either water soluble or lipid soluble. The latter include vitamins A, D, E and K, which play an important role in the growth and differentiation of genes and organs. On the other hand, the clinical significance of lipid soluble vitamin deficiencies may lead to serious illnesses such as anaemia and blindness and even life threatening situations, such cancer development. A Dutch organisation, TNO, developed a new computer controlled model system that simulates the pathways of lipid soluble vitamins in the gastrointestinal tract. The system has been validated against in vivo data and succeeded in predicting the bioaccessibility of fat soluble vitamins from vegetables. The ultimate objective is to broaden the scope of this research to encompass all the substances that are capable of dissolving in lipids and come either from food or medicine. Nutritional food is an important aspect of a healthy life. Apart from food, vitamin supplements are also consumed in order to complete our intake of nutritional substances. Studying the availability and the absorption of nutrients in food will significantly enhance the work of dieticians and physicians to provide subjects with the most balanced diets, which is extremely important in many cases such as obesity. In addition, these studies will aid pharmaceutical industries to develop new food supplements that will strengthen our organisms.

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