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Bioavailability of vitamin E in humans: an update

Authors

  • Patrick Borel,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), UMR1260, Marseilles, France
    2. Aix-Marseille Université, Faculté de Médecine, Marseilles, France
    • Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Unité Mixte de Recherche (UMR) 1062, Nutrition, Obesity and Risk of Thrombosis, Marseilles, France
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  • Damien Preveraud,

    1. Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Unité Mixte de Recherche (UMR) 1062, Nutrition, Obesity and Risk of Thrombosis, Marseilles, France
    2. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), UMR1260, Marseilles, France
    3. Aix-Marseille Université, Faculté de Médecine, Marseilles, France
    4. Adisseo France S.A.S., Centre of Expertise and Research in Nutrition, Commentry, France
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  • Charles Desmarchelier

    1. Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Unité Mixte de Recherche (UMR) 1062, Nutrition, Obesity and Risk of Thrombosis, Marseilles, France
    2. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), UMR1260, Marseilles, France
    3. Aix-Marseille Université, Faculté de Médecine, Marseilles, France
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Correspondence: P Borel, UMR NORT 1260 INRA/1062 INSERM/Aix-Marseille Université, Faculté de Médecine, 27 Boulevard Jean-Moulin, 13385 Marseilles Cedex 5, France. E-mail: Patrick.Borel@univ-amu.fr, Phone: +33-4-91-29-41-11, Fax: +33-4-91-78-21-01.

Abstract

Vitamin E is essential for human health and may play a role in the prevention of some degenerative diseases. Its bioavailability, however, is wide ranging and is affected by numerous factors. Recent findings showing that the intestinal absorption of vitamin E involves proteins have raised new relevant questions about factors that can affect bioavailability. It is, therefore, opportune to present a current overview of this topic. This review begins by exploring what is known, as well as what is unknown, about the metabolization of vitamin E in the human upper gastrointestinal tract and then presents a methodical evaluation of factors assumed to affect vitamin E bioavailability. Three main conclusions can be drawn. First, the proteins ABCA1, NPC1L1, and SR-BI are implicated in the absorption of vitamin E. Second, the efficiency of vitamin E absorption is widely variable, though not accurately known (i.e., between 10% and 79%), and is affected by several dietary factors (e.g., food matrix, fat, and fat-soluble micronutrients). Finally, numerous unanswered questions remain about the metabolization of vitamin E in the intestinal lumen and about the factors affecting the efficiency of vitamin E absorption.

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